I love to cook and I love sharing that passion with my boys. They have been cooking since they could reach the counter with a stool, I guess that would be about 18 months old. Over the years I have just made their tasks in the kitchen more complex.
Today we are busy preparing for our traditional New Year's Eve and Day Celebration. Our tradition is to have brocolli with garlic sauce and rice, spring rolls and sparkling grape juice on New Year's Eve and soups and fresh bread on New Year's Day. Since we always go on a hike on New Year's Day and Chuck's Dad and his family are coming around lunch time, I wanted to get things prepped ahead of time. So I put all four boys to work!
The little ones had the task of separating 14 bulbs of garlic into cloves. Yes, I said 14 bulbs! I needed 30 for the garlic sauce, 88 for garlic soup, and a few for pasta fagioli. They did an amazing job and in record time. The mess...that is another story! The point is they helped and learned about garlic at the same time and I think they had a little fun!
C was put in charge of browning two pounds of Italian sausage for the pasta fagioli. We aren't making that until tomorrow, but it is now cooked and drained and ready to be tossed in the soup tomorrow. He did the draining also!
(On a side note, check out the tool he is using to break apart the sausage. It is one of my favorite tools in the kitchen, makes the task of breaking up ground sausage and beef so easy even an 8 year old can do it! No more clumps. It is sold by Pampered Chef. Check out the link to my dear friend's business.)
Lastly, the other C was in charge of prepping the brocolli for dinner tonight. He chopped 6 heads of brocolli into bite size pieces, including peeling and chopping the stalks. That was about 8 cups of brocolli. Check out that knife, yes, it is a real one and a big one! That is the one I use. I have taught him how to use it properly and he does a wonderful job. For those of you that don't know him, he is 10 years old.
After this we made a cake and frosting, I forgot to take pictures. All in all, we were in the kitchen for about an hour and a half. But if I had done this all myself it would have taken me much longer and I would have been bored. When they are little, I will admit it does add to your cooking time, but if you invest then, they will be able to do what my kids are doing now and really be a help.
I am not sharing this to boast on my kids, though they are great kids ;), I am doing it because teaching kids how to cook is an importance skill. There is so much for them to learn about math, perserverance, diligence, working with others, and self sufficiency. Besides their future spouses will be thankful! I can't tell you how many people have told me that they can't cook, but their moms are great cooks. No one took the time to teach them. Cooking isn't learned by osmosis or by eating, it is learned by doing.
I hope to continue to share more about how the boys and I work in the kitchen together this year and more ideas about how I incorporate them daily into the work that goes on in our kitchen.
Happy New Year!