My husband has been a chef his whole career.
He loves to cook and he loves to teach people about cooking. One of his first students was his daughter and one of the best times for teaching her in the kitchen was during school breaks. She started learning by tasting foods and watching what to do.
During a school break there is usually a bit more time to spend together as a family, but any time is great for kids to help in the kitchen. There are plenty of tasks even before they get to chopping or stirring something on the stove. Older children can also show younger siblings what to do and how to do it.
Here are a few suggestions from Chef Martin on getting your kids interested in the kitchen:
• Have them taste vegetables raw and cooked. They might prefer the raw version, and then you save yourself some cooking time.
• Quiz them about simple tasks so they remember them. My stepdaughter learned how to cook rice this way: “How do you cook rice?” was the question she was asked on the way home from school for one month.
• Have them participate in grocery shopping, so they learn what ingredients are. Older kids can learn about pricing too.
It is also a great idea to have them read labels of what they eat to realize what’s in it. You are what you eat, right? If we teach them to understand how to eat healthy, they will live a better life, as well as be self-sufficient.
I can tell you many of my memories of spring break as a child involved cooking. We, as a family) didn’t go away when I was little, so my brother and I learned how to entertain ourselves in the kitchen to add to our own fun. We started making rice Krispie squares and never looked back.
When I was older and we went on ski holidays, I remember being in the condo’s kitchen making fun meals like build-your-own pizza and chilli. It’s memories like that that turned me into the foodie I am today.
It’s good to be reminded on a regular basis that we are connected to the rest of the world, and what we do (or don’t do) makes a difference. One of the most basic ways we can do that is with our food.
Food is a product of our planet, and our culture. It is the history and the future all wrapped up in nice little packages. Doesn’t that sound a bit like our children? Such precious cargo. We need to remember to take good care of every single bit of it.
Children need to know every moment in their lives has the potential to make a difference, so they can take all those moments in and value each one. And so should it be with the food they eat.
We have to eat, so why not enjoy the process? If children (and the rest of us, too) learn to think about enjoying and respecting food, then it naturally becomes a part of life and enriches us not just with nutrients, but also with memories.
Please try to spend some extra time with your food this week or maybe try a new food that you see at the grocery store. If you don’t have kids to challenge you, see if you can think like a kid and make your food fun.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.