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How To Get Started Cooking with Kids

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Cooking with your kids is an awesome life lesson. It teaches teamwork, helps them hone their fine motor skills, teaches creativity and flexibility. Most importantly, cooking is something that they will use for the rest of their lives. As your child becomes a recalcitrant teen, and conversation becomes more difficult, cooking together can bridge any size gap.

Cooking with your kids doesn't require a lot of expensive tools, no gourmet foods and no exotic locations. It does require patience, tolerance, understanding and a sense of humor for when stuff goes wrong - which it will, at least fairly often in the beginning. It can be stressful, but the memories and the lessons you give to your children are priceless.

Cooking with your kids has a lot to offer - but how do you get started?

Start at the beginning. It's a very good place to start. (My apologies to Julie Andrews and the cast of The Sound of Music.)

Go over the basics in the kitchen.

Start with Food Safety -Teach the importance of hand washing - and then teach it again. I once had a culinary teacher who had us all put pink food coloring on our freshly washed hands, and ten minutes later, she showed us every single place we'd touched on our faces. It was a LOT more than we'd ever imagined. Teach your kids the need to pull hair back from the face. Talk about what food need to get chilled and why, and how long raw and cooked foods can be out on the counter.

Demonstrate Knife Safety - You can purchase child safe knives, or allow your child to use your knife with your hand over it. Teach her to curve her fingers under and how to rock the knife over the food. Use a cutting board and dedicate one for fruit and veg and a separate one for meats.Talk about cleaning the cutting board.

Pick Easy to Prepare Foods - Choosing foods that are easy to create means a greater chance of success and more chance that your child will want to cook again. Grilled cheese, pancakes, trail mix, cupcakes - all of these are foods that kids enjoy that don't require a large amount of prep time.

Measurement Basics - Also known as,  I do not think that the one cup liquid measurement means what you think it means. There's a difference between a liquid and a solid measuring cup. Flour needs to be spooned in and leveled off. Go over the basics of measurement with your child.

Stir Does Not Mean Whip. Cooking can be broken down into basic terms, and some of those are stir, whip, cream,chop, dice, mix, fold. Each of these involves a separate skill. The ability to differentiate between these skills can often make or break a recipe.

Cooking is a skill that each and every one of us needs - but it can be tricky to teach your child. What is the one thing you wish you'd known about the kitchen when you first began cooking?

ŠiStockphoto.com/ 4774344sean

by on Apr. 24, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Replies (11-20):
elasmimi
by on Apr. 26, 2012 at 7:42 AM

My 5 y/o does break eggs like a pro. We make breakfast, and she helps me bake. I let her try the mixer for the first time last night, and it's still a little too heavy for her.

MamaBear2cubs
by Bronze Member on Apr. 26, 2012 at 7:53 AM

I love to let the kids help out in the kitchen!

millerbunch
by on Apr. 26, 2012 at 8:05 AM

how long something stays in the oven..LOL  the first meatloaf i baked in my hubby's and mine apt. was a brick, because i was afraid of undercooking it :P

millerbunch
by on Apr. 26, 2012 at 8:06 AM

i do teach my kids kitchen prep and safety.. my oldest though, oy vey!! LOL  

Bmat
by Bronze Member on Apr. 26, 2012 at 8:14 AM

I still don't know how to chop veggies.  Most of the other things on the list I was able to learn by looking it up. Thank you for the excellent list.

Bmat
by Bronze Member on Apr. 26, 2012 at 8:15 AM

I didn't make a point of this, but I should have.

Quoting millerbunch:

i do teach my kids kitchen prep and safety.. my oldest though, oy vey!! LOL  


lalasmama2007
by Ticia on Apr. 26, 2012 at 9:37 AM
My 5 year old loves to help in the kitchen. Thanks!
KaylaMillar
by Bronze Member on Apr. 26, 2012 at 10:11 AM
I love to let my kids help me cook. It's great bonding time!
goddess99
by Bronze Member on Apr. 26, 2012 at 10:18 AM

hmm Idk, I didn't know anything. My husband has been teaching me to cook.

Charizma77
by Bronze Member on Apr. 26, 2012 at 10:24 AM
Everything! My mom did not teach me to cook or bake. Dh had to teach me and even now he is better in the kitchen than I am.
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