As a function of the way our days work, since I leave early before the kids are even dressed, I get home first with the kids and often while they are eating their snack after school, I will be starting to prepare dinner. They ask some pretty funny questions, particularly about meat – what kind of animal is that? what part of the body does it come from? what are you doing now? It makes me proud that they take an interest in what actually goes into a meal and how it’s made. I think they have watched enough ‘Chopped’ and ‘Cutthroat Kitchen’ to see cooking as something that is exciting and their interest is piqued.
More recently though, instead of being bystanders, I have tried to incorporate them a bit in making the meals and for the most part, they’ve been pretty enthusiastic. This works pretty well (most days) for a couple of reasons; it keeps them busy while I get dinner ready, and it seems to result in them being more likely to eat what we make.
A real favorite to make seems to be chicken fingers – since they both love eating them and they also seem to enjoy the assembly line process of putting them together. Other things we have made recently include meatloaf, cinnamon buns, pizzas and some homemade macaroni and cheese. The big guy is always in charge of stirring, and likes to think he should also be in charge of breaking in the eggs, which usually puts me in charge of sifting out egg shells for the next few minutes. Lil’ E is a bit more versatile now, and also a little less to clean up after.
I have found this to be a really fun activity to do with the kids, and have started to learn a few things about how to make it more enjoyable. I know enough now to have everything prepped prior to getting them involved, and also to work with them to pick a recipe that they are interested both in making and in eating.