A Pair Of Gourmands
A Pair Of Gourmands

Kids Can Cook Too!

by - Story: 10629

Every time I go to work, I get to see inside people’s fridge and pantry. I have to say, many people in Kelowna eat pretty good food and take the time to cook. One thing that I have noticed though, is often the parents don’t have the kids participate in the dinner-making procedures.

A few weekends ago, I went to cook for a party of 25 adults and kids. The hosts were a very nice couple with two kids, their house was unbelievable and the kitchen was really professional looking with all the necessary equipment. I started to do my prep for dinner and their two kids showed up and stood there to watch me. There is nothing more fun than to teach kids some basic food prep and see them learn and not be afraid to get all mucky up to their elbows. I ask them if they wanted to help, and they said “No, it’s Ok”, so I insisted until they finally decided to try it out. I set them up for success, and let them make a fruit pie which was a first time for both 10 and 13 year old boys. The result was pretty nice, the taste was really good and the experience they went to bed with will last forever. “A chef came to my house and showed me how to cook!”

If I may give you a piece of advice. At 7 or 8 years old a child can and should start learning some basic cooking skills. This is the best way to get them excited about eating new foods. So starting as early as possible, make them do simple things, like pressing a lemon, smashing potatoes, make a pancake batter or even stir a pot over the stove (with supervision, of course). In my house, it’s the one of the best ways to get my daughter to start talking about her day. Remember, once they leave your house to conquer the world, they will be able to stay healthy by eating meals made from scratch. What a gift!

If you need help with your kids’ cooking education, send me an e-mail.

Chef Martin

She says:

There was no Chef in our house when I was growing up, but my Mom was certainly in tune with my curiosity, and when I started to watch her in the kitchen, she noticed. She would let me play with the food, doing small things like mixing or sifting (we had one of those cool flour sifters with the squeeze handle and I used to pretend I was making it snow for the Nutcracker and Clara!) I could crack eggs (they are amazingly hard, I discovered, and that made me interested when I learned at school that only a hard-boiled egg will spin like a top – raw ones just wobble!) And although the “displacement method” for measuring butter was one my Mom thought was more trouble than help, it did teach me about the physical theory of weight displacement.

My time as “Mom’s helper” when I was little was what made me a curious foodie as I got older. It also connected the garden and the kitchen for me when we planted vegetables in the old car stall and watched them grow… and grow and grow! I hated having to suck the air out of the bags of blanched beans and peas so they wouldn’t get freezer burn, but I did love the taste of frozen garden veggies lots better than the canned ones we had before the garden.

My Mom’s curiosity was passed on to me and now I love to share it with others. At a Brownie meeting this past winter, the whole troop got to stick their hands in a bowl of corn starch and water to see how it felt (kind of hard and soft at the same time). And when we made Irish Soda Bread there was flour and raisins everywhere, but everyone was proud to go home with something homemade at the end of the evening.

It is a simple but precious gift to a child to allow them to be curious, and that is all it takes to get your family in the kitchen. Even hamburgers on the BBQ can become a family experience, and who doesn’t need a few more of those?

Chef Martin’s Tip 19: Keeping records!

One of the best gifts you can give your children is to make a scrapbook of all the recipes they used to eat as kids…

It is very nice to cook Mom’s recipes once she is no longer with us - it helps keeping her memories alive for you and for the grandchildren.

Collect everything, especially if the recipe comes from the back of a can, because all of it is priceless.

Recipes can be found on the Internet very easily, but they will never have the impact of tasty memories with family!

Make it a craft project for the kids, and it will keep them busy. When they move out, pull it out of the cedar chest as a “finally you are getting out of my house” gift.

“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.

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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.

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