Cooking with kids

No blog posts for the past few days, since I’ve been busy doing all those things good mothers (the kind who don’t sit on their computers blogging and reading blogs while their kids sit on the other computer doing who knows what) do — taking them on exhausting outings, reading to them, and letting them help me cook.

John Rosemond says that doing all this hands-on kid stuff actually makes me a bad mother, and that good mothers should ignore their kids. Awesome — permission to blog away! Actually, not so fast. Rosemond says (in his condescending, “I know better than you, you stupid Hausfrau” way) that good mothers are supposed to pay attention to their husbands instead of their kids. Yeah, he would. But more on that later; back now to my being a good (bad), attentive (smothering) mother not-ignoring her kids in the kitchen.

Everything you cook with kids takes twice as much organization and prep, twice as much time to complete, and makes at least twice as much mess in the kitchen. But boy do they love it. And they are more inclined to eat the actual lunch or dinner food instead of saying they don’t like it, or that they’re full after three bites and by the way, what’s for dessert?

A blog search turned up a few results for cooking with kids, but not as man as I expected, considering how many blogs on arcane subjects there are out there. I guess it’s because if you’re cooking with your kids, you usually don’t have time to blog about it. What’s Cooking Blog is dedicated to cooking with kids, giving suggestions about what to let the kids do with each recipe. Foodie Mama admits on her blog that she doesn’t really like baking with her kids:

I know, I know, it’s all about the shared experience. But I’d just rather share an experience that doesn’t result in mediocre baked goods. If this is my worst fault as a mom, so be it! Of course I want my kids to learn to love the kitchen as much as I do; I just wish that road weren’t paved with so many rock-like cookies.

So, the bottom line is this: I do invite my kids to bake with me, because I understand that it’s important for many reasons, but I don’t have to like it.

I can relate. Sometimes I enjoy the process, and sometimes I just do it because I know I should, and because the end result — like a three-year-old being able to make pancakes almost entirely on her own. Yes, I know it’s obnoxious for mothers to brag about how wonderful and talented and precocious their children are, but this time I really can’t help it. Yesterday, three-year-old Tess made pancakes practically all by herself. She cracked the eggs without getting any shells in. She mixed it exactly until combined but without overmixing. She poured them on the griddle without too much batter on the non-griddle parts of the stove. She flipped them at the right time without my having to tell her, and without mangling them. She got them on the plate, buttered them and drizzled (as opposed to flooding) them with syrup.

Give a child pancakes and you feed her for a day; teach her to make pancakes and eventually she can feed the family while you take your plate of pancakes to the computer and blog.

Comments 5

  1. N wrote:

    WTG Tess!

    Posted 09 Dec 2008 at 3:40 pm
  2. Lauren wrote:

    Wonderful job! The girls love to cook with J. They bake with me.

    Posted 09 Dec 2008 at 9:06 pm
  3. Foxfier wrote:

    *Laughs* That’s great!

    Posted 10 Dec 2008 at 2:58 am
  4. Julia wrote:

    I felt the same way about John Rosemond saying that. His mom ignored him and he liked it, from what I gather. Whatever. I’m going to go right on reading to my kids and taking them on outings and being interested in what they do and say.

    I also cook with my kids, and like the writer at Foodie Mom, find it both worthwhile and totally frustrating. They make such a mess! But they’re getting better at it, and they have fun, which is what matters.

    Posted 11 Dec 2008 at 9:14 pm
  5. Jason Cammack wrote:

    I happen to teach people how to cook for a living. Adults are no easier and and in many cases, take direction WORSE than kids. Cooking with your kids is NOT about what you cook. It’s about teaching them that you have the time to give. By giving them the time, they are important. They’ll get the point that you care about them and how their food is made. If it’s terrible, order a pizza after they go to bed!

    Posted 15 Dec 2008 at 7:29 am

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