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Teaching Children How to Cook

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 16 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Teaching Children How To Cook

In an age of takeaways and microwave meals, home cooked food may seem alien to many modern children. Even those that are served straight from the kitchen may have very little knowledge of food beyond their own likes and dislikes. Why not teach your kids something that will stay with them the rest of their lives - how to cook! Hold onto your apron strings because with a little motivation you'll soon be cooking up a storm!

Brain Food

Teaching children to cook doesn't mean that you simply show them how to prepare food. Children will gain a variety of skills and knowledge when you welcome them to the kitchen.
  • A cooking lesson is the perfect place to introduce new fruits, vegetables and other food groups.
  • The kitchen is a great backdrop for an impromptu nutrition lesson.
  • You can sneak a short first aid lesson in when discussing the cuts, scrapes and burns that can result from inattention while cooking.
  • Meal planning will make your child aware of the many likes and dislikes found in the family.
  • Shopping for ingredients will give you and your child some quality time, while at the same time allowing for a short lesson in budgeting.
  • Creating menus will allow your child some input into their meals, which will hopefully equate to many clean plates as time goes on!

Too Hot to Handle

Cooking with children is just as much about teaching them what NOT to do as it is about teaching them proper food handling skills. Take the time to explain to your child what you expect them to master, and what you expect them to stay away from.

  • Teaching older children to properly use gas and electric appliances will put your mind at ease.
  • Teaching all children to smell for gas, and what to do in the event of a leak, will make cooking more comfortable for everyone.
  • Teaching older children to properly handle knives and other sharp utensils (or introducing them to the utensils they are NOT allowed to use) will greatly increase kitchen safety.
  • Teaching all children what to do in the event of a kitchen fire decreases the risk of any hazardous accidents.
  • Teaching all children about using oven mitts for protection will alleviate burns and scalds later.

What You Got Cooking?

Even if you are working with a budding Jamie Oliver or Julia Child, some basic dishes are just the thing for helping your child master cooking skills. Consider:
  • Cutting up fruit and vegetables to learn knife handling skills.
  • Making a fresh soup to warn about boiling water and the magic of mushy veggies.
  • Creating fresh fruit smoothies to demonstrate the blender.
  • Dazzling with cheese-on-toast to illustrate the power of the oven.
  • Throwing together beans on toast to explain that meals can be quick and fun.
  • Asking your children about their favourite meals and snacks, and then creating a special feast.
Bon Appetit!

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