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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Something I learned from my mom - Teaching your kids to cook

My mom did a great job of teaching us how to cook growing up. She came up with a great idea that everyone had a night to help her with dinner. We set our nights according to our schedules - my night was Monday.

When we were younger we would help her pick out what to have at the beginning of the week so she could get the ingredients when she went grocery shopping. This taught us meal planning. On our night we would work in the kitchen together to prepare the meal. When we were little we would just add things as my mom measured them out. As we got older we would learn how to measure ourselves, and eventually read the recipe.

Once we were teenagers we were in charge of planning the meal ourselves and responsible for cooking that night. My mom was there to help, but we were in charge.

Because of this, I knew how to make simple things like spaghetti and jello by the time I was 8. I could make a full meal by reading the recipe on my own by age 12. I really liked this for a lot of reasons.

First, it taught us all to cook. I am still surprised when I talk to 12 or 13 year olds that don't even know how to make macaroni and cheese from a box. I eventually went to college and watched how hard it was for girls that didn't know how to cook and was grateful for a mom that gave me that skill. My brothers eventually becames missionaries for our church and were prepared when they left to eat more than toast and peanut butter and jelly.

Second, it gave us one-on-one time with our mom. My mom had 5 kids all 2 years apart, and this ensured individual time with each of them every week.

I have started this with my little girl already even though she can't do much. Obviously she can't help meal plan yet, but she can watch me cook. I sit her in her Bumbo chair on the counter and let her dump things in (with a little help of course.) If I am cutting with knives or cooking over the stove I don't want her within arms reach, so I put her on the floor with a whisk and a bowl and she stirs and stirs while I work on dinner.

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