As a means of artistic and creative expression, cooking could top the list if handicrafts. It also has an enormous practical benefit. Cooking is one of those art forms that is accessible to just about anyone. The learning curve to get to the higher levels is not that intimidating, but the quest for perfection will lead to a lifetime of satisfaction.
Did you realize that it just might save your children’s lives? I recently came across the story of a young woman in Great Britain who had collapsed and was rushed to the hospital because she was having breathing difficulty. Doctors were shocked to learn that the young woman had never eaten a fruit or vegetable. In spite of her mother’s efforts to encourage a balanced diet, from the time she was 2 years old, this girl had refused to eat anything but McDonald Chicken Nuggets.
Rather than haranguing about the questionable nutritional value of Chicken Nuggets (a horror story of its own) we will look at a problem most parents face; picky eaters. Most kids seem to go through a phase of refusing to eat what is placed before them. Usually kids will out grow this, but it is a period of frustration for parents. We have a simple and effective way to help introduce your kids to new food; have them cook it!
This solution makes a lot more sense if you enjoy cooking yourself, and if you do, then even the most nervous parent should enjoy teaching their kids to cook. It is probably best to restrict the youngest cooks to simple and safe tasks like spreading the peanut butter on whole wheat toast. Ignore the mess at first, but parents will reduce a lot of frustration by introducing the concept that a good cook is a clean cook as soon as they can.
Very soon the kiddie-cooks will be able to take on more complicated and seemingly dangerous tasks. Get out your knife sharpeners and remember that a sharp blade is a safe blade. You may want to find a smaller sanduko style knife that is an appropriate size for a small cook’s hand. Teaching knife skills to a youngster can be nerve racking for any parent, just remember that someday you are going to be teaching this same kid how to drive!
What sort of dishes should your kiddie-cook be tackling? Simple dishes seem the instinctive answer, but be sure to be supportive as the junior chef feels the desire to experiment.