I talk about my girls on a fairly regular basis. They are my daily companions, and continually push me to be a better person. One of their greatest lessons for me is patience. I get to practice this skill daily, in many ways, but especially when my ladies help me cook. I have to let go of perfection, and allow them to try and try, and make mistakes, and be ok with things being “wrong.” When I do I can accept and appreciate their help, when I’m having trouble with this, it is a long and painful process to cook with them. Over time I have figured out where they can be successful, and a few tips to help us both feel good working together.
Pictured above is sourdough bread. We are working on sourdough bread and bagels today and it always reminds me of this quote from my three year old: “I’m making bagels; they take a couple days.” She is talking about sourdough bagels. She is used to working on projects that take a long time, she knows the reward is worth it, and is happy to help each step of the way.
Tips For Cooking With Kids
- Give them to correct tools for the job.
- They both have plastic knives they use to cut real vegetables we will actually be using.
- Plan enough time.
- Always, always, leave more time than you think you will need. Plan to clean up messes and spills, to mediate arguments, and to offer praise throughout the project.
- Think ahead so they will have things to do the majority of the time you are cooking.
- Idle time does not go well, so plan for things to be stirred, cut, or washed.
- Doing dishes is fun.
- It can be a bit of a mess, but nothing keeps them occupied longer than a sink of warm water and some dishes.
- Give them real tasks.
- My girls will help me with many things including: cut vegetables, knead dough, use a pastry brush to brush oil on vegetables, measure, and stir.
- Let them taste.
- The number of vegetables my girls have tried while helping is far more than they ever would have at the table. They love to take bites, to smell, touch, and explore everything we are working with.
- Keep it safe.
- Remember to move anything sharp, breakable, or unsanitary away from children before turning your back.