A Pair Of Gourmands

by - Story: 7678

Kids in the kitchen! by The Chef in Stead

Do you remember when you left home - you were proud and scared at the same time, finally, you were leaving the nest to fly on your own.
Do you remember the first meal you cooked in your own apartment? What kind of box or can was it? We all did it!

Now a decade further in your life, you probably have kids and they too will leave the nest sooner or later. Why not give them the best gift of all - teach them a few simple meals made from scratch so they can develop the taste for cooking good food.

One, teach them to shop at the right places and buy fresh anytime they can.

Two, teach by example, cook while they are watching you, and answer any possible questions they may have growing in their little minds. Every time you need a lemon to be squeezed, call them to the rescue! They will love it!

Three, teach them to think simple and cook meals with just a few ingredients.

Four, make them cook dinner while they are still at home, and they can learn how to do the dishes on their own.

Five, be patient, let them make mistakes and let them eat them! After you finish eating, invite positive, constructive conversation about what they would like to do differently next time.

It would take a professional chef two to three times to really master a recipe, so make sure that your kids get a chance to practice often. If they can master 7 different meals before they leave home, things should be ok. News flash: your kids may not necessarily marry a chef, they may get hitched with a brain surgeon or a plumber who can’t cook. My child was 8 years old when she baked her first chicken. I look forward to eating dinner with her. I know that she will make me proud!

I was a kid in the kitchen once, as a result of my own curiosity and parents who thought it important that I learn the ways of the world. I started standing on a wooden box, so that I could reach the counter to help my Mom roll out cookies. Then I moved up to “wacky cake” - that magical chocolate cake that you can mix from scratch and bake in the same pan. After that, there was no looking back. The first time I cracked an egg in my hand and watched it slither around without the yolk breaking, I was hooked on the science of cooking. The first time someone complimented me on the way I decorated my cake, I was hooked on the art of cooking.

When I was about 14, my Mom and Dad decided that both my brother and I should cook one dinner a week. We of course complained and groaned a lot in the beginning, but it actually didn’t take long for us to enjoy the process. We both developed specialties of our own – Justin’s was spaghetti sauce (he said the bay leaf was the secret to a great sauce, and I do believe he is right to this day.) Mine was grilled pork chops done under the broiler. (I first learned how to do it during a Prairie winter, so the barbecue was out of the question.) I served it with fried rice (possibly because I got to play with an egg again!) Eventually we did branch out to other dishes, and as we got more familiar with the kitchen equipment and the flavours of different foods, we got more adventurous.

I am glad that my parents made me cook a meal a week when I was young. Just like I am glad that they made me help in the garden during spring weekends, and do my laundry when teenage style sense said I needed to change clothes twice a day. All of those life skills have served me well, and although laundry is still not something I yearn to do, spending time in the kitchen and the garden are two of my favorite and most rewarding pastimes. Parents, don’t be afraid to “make” your kids do a few things around the house. And kids, don’t be afraid that doing those things will ruin your social stature or your love life. You just might meet your future mate in the kitchen, like I did!

Chef Martin’s Tip 4:
Read cookbooks or food magazines.

To really improve your skills, you need to be able to read a recipe and start feeling what it would taste like when it’s done. Once you have reached this level, you are half way there! Most good cooks have an understanding of textures, colors, and mechanics of foods. Reading will make the actual cooking process much easier. The Food Network is also great, but keep notes.

Don’t get me wrong, you still need to cook to get better!

“No matter what happens in the kitchen, never apologize.”
(Julia Child, 1912-2004)

The Chef in Stead - Website For Previous Chef Tips For comments or questions, you can reach Martin at 250-712-4440 or Email.

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories