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Tips, Tricks and Treats to Teach Kids to Cook

Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen? No Such Thing!


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  • As a Momma, I taught our three sons to cook. If you can read, do basic math, then the possibilities are virtually endless. As a Nana, I have adored welcoming my grands into my kitchen. One loves to bake, the other loves to cook, the littlest one now loves to assist. Such fun we have as we work together. I have created a cupboard that houses all the essentials: measuring spoons, cups, tools, gadgets, some basic ingredients. This alone has helped the girls achieve an impressive level of independence. Often I am relegated to the role of sous chef...or clean up duty. Together we have learned what terms mean, made healthier tweaks to recipes, and used recipes that women in our family have made for almost 75 years. Priceless, worth every sticky mess for the giggles and fun we have. Bake someone happy, empower your children in the kitchen...truly some of my happiest memories as a grandparent!
  • Hate to say it so soon after Mother's Day. BUT...

    Until I was a teenage, my Blessed Mom wouldn't let me in the kitchen except to eat, shuck corn, shell beans, wash dishes, put away groceries or clean up. (It WAS a SMALL kitchen).
    Reasons I was in the way, I bothered her, I distracted her, it was faster for her to just do it by herself.
    By the time she graciously said it was time to teach me how to cook, I was no longer interested.

    !!!! RED FACE !!!! I am 60 yo and only cook 7 things, mostly with mixes and kits.
    Luckily, my Sweetie Jack was a 30 yo bachelor when we met and was already a GOOD COOK! And he likes to cook. (And do dishes - I REALLY LUCKED OUT ! He does hate laundry, which I don't mind at all. We're an ideal match)
    So, when Matthew was little, you better believe I had him in the kitchen "helping" and learning. Then in high school, Matthew took Home Ec. By the time he graduated, he way surpassed me in cooking!
  • Uh, what about Dads brining their children into the kitchen as well. Its statements like this that perpetuate women as doing the major lifting still with most tasks. Get it together Spark People a little. There are Dads & partners out there~
  • "We all know how important it is to prepare nutritious food for our children. But did you know it's equally as important that we teach our children how to prepare nutritious food for themselves?"

    NO!!! Really??
  • I really dislike the fact that the author of this article chose chicken nuggets and pizza as their first two cooking with kids suggestions. The reality (that no one talks about) is, if your kids eat school lunch, go through fast food (ever) or even go to birthday parties or friends houses they are already eating chicken nuggets and pizza far too often. So many parents also have chicken nuggets and pizza at least once a week if not more as what the kids are eating for dinner (even if the parents are having something different). Because I already know those foods are over represented I don't buy or make chicken nuggets and we don't have pizza as a regular meal. I'd suggest pancakes with fruit or nuts in them as an easy and fun cooking with kids meal and omelets with whatever veggies and cheese (& meat if you eat it). My daughter is 3 so she can stir batter, add fruit and nuts or vegetables. My son is 10 and he has been able to cook an omelet with minimal help since about 6.
  • My 12 year old is having a friend sleep over tonight..they and my 10 yr old are so making their own nuggets tonight. Love this and it's easy to do.
  • Cooking is the perfect time to teach children fractions. I had them figure out the proportions when doubling the chocolate chip cookie recipe, etc. I taught them the difference between liquid and dry measure, and to "eye ball" measurements.
  • Thanks for the article! It astounds me how many kids out in the "real world" are not learning to cook, from their moms or otherwise! We have an entire generation (at least) of people who don't even know what a potato is when they see it, much less how to prepare one for dinner. (I have witnessed this at our local Farmers' Market.)

    I have been4 teaching kids to cook via 4-H for several years. I teach ages 5 to 18, though my own kids have been helping in the kitchen since they were old enough to balance on the step stool to watch me. I think this article is a little paranoid on safety, but anything that motivates people to work with kids is fabulous!

    BTW, I loved the comment/suggestion about dog biscuits! Great idea for preschoolers!
  • These are all great suggestions. I think it's important too that dads do all this stuff, too. I noticed that the article only called out moms.
  • This is a great article. I think children will be willing to try new foods if they are part of the food preparation. Love the age-appropriate instructions. Now this next comment may seem silly to some people, however, it is kind of important. In the main photo of this article, the woman is holding the knife in an entirely inappropriate way. A knife is not held with the finger tips. I have no doubt that this was done for photogenic purposes, but proper knife handling is too important to be left out. I guess I think this is particularly important with this article since the article is all about teaching kids to cook. But otherwise, the article is really fantastic.
  • Make sure to explain the dangers of things like boiling water and garbage disposers, and make sure kids know that they are only allowed to do any kind of cooking when they have adult supervision. If you don't make this clear to them they'll think that cooking with you one time is a license to do the same things on their own.
    Instead of using fingers to dip the chicken pieces in the egg, use a fork or tongs. Then there are no eggy fingers to worry about - this is just common sense! It will also teach the kids how to use the utensils.

    For the graham cracker recipe, I would make it a 2-layer treat instead of a 3-layer. Put strawberries and banana slices on the same frosted graham cracker & top with another one. This would be much easier to eat without falling apart & making a mess. The kids could also have a choice of which fruit they want. You could use other sliced fresh fruit, like peaches or nectarines in season.

    For the yogurt parfaits, don't forget to drain the pineapple, or it will make the yogurt too runny.

    When I was growing up, the "nested eggs" were called "toad in a hole."

    Dads cooking is nothing new. I'm 60 years old and my dad taught me how to make pancakes when I was a kid. He also cooked other breakfast meals. He worked nights, so his free time with us kids was on the weekends, and he loved to make the family big breakfast.
  • I can't wait to try this with my grandaughter the fruit and graham crackers sound like something she might like fruit is not her favorite but if she helps it might be too hard to resist
  • "...but the only way they'll learn to cook is by joining you in the kitchen, moms."

    Really, Sparkpeople? I did not expect that sort of comment here. Healthy cooking is for everyone.
    "teach your children to cook moms" so very last century

    your site is becoming extremely sexist and boring with its unidimensiuonal approach

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