For some reason that I’ve yet to pinpoint, I hated cooking when I was a kid. I refused to try to learn, I didn’t want to clean afterwards, and as a result I grew up to be a terrible cook with no basic technique at all. Despite this misstep in my culinary education, I’ve tried to teach my kids some cooking basics now and then.
One of the best ways has been to skip all the boring meals like basically anything involving dinner, and head straight for sweet things. Kids love sweet things. It’s the perfect reward for all the hard work they do causing you to spill milk and drop flour everywhere and make a mess three times bigger than you would have made just making the food on your own.
But I digress.
All kidding (mostly) aside, I really love cooking with my kids. Lately, we’ve been making muffins that serve as breakfast for the rest of the week. I usually pour the ingredients and let them drop the spoonfuls into the bowls. They also like to stir, and they’re reasonably proficient at stirring. This week, we made pumpkin muffins and my preschooler spent the entire spooning-into-the-tin portion of the festivities going, “Ew! Ew! That looks like poop!” Super helpful.
But then all the magic starts when the house begins to smell delicious and you turn the oven light on and the kids can actually see the baking magic happening. The next morning, my boys head straight for the things we baked and beg to eat them. Which is way better than me begging them to eat something else I’ve concocted.
Eggs can be a lot of fun too. Try buying natural food coloring and doing good old fashioned green eggs, or pink eggs if you’re my kids. Kids can help with the scrambling part or they can be complete nuisances as you try to turn over a perfectly fried egg. If you’re feeling really playful, make toast and let the kids cut it into fun shapes with cookie cutters.
On special occasions, we do really sweet things like using rolls to make monkey muffins. I figure it’s better to get a nice sugar high in the morning than at 7:45 pm right before I’m trying to herd the hooligans into bed.
Of course, if you’re feeling really low key, there’s always cold cereal. But a word of warning: I managed to spill entire boxes of tiny chocolate cereal all over my mom’s kitchen not one but about fifty times when I was a kid. I guess that messy nuisance thing runs in the family.