I really enjoy baking and cooking with my children and find myself involving them more and more in what I’m doing. They’re six and three and a half, so not quite at Masterchef level yet, but we branching out more and more in our repertoire.
Without sounding too evangelical, I think that cooking with your children is one of those activities that are really beneficial, both in terms of the kids and the parents. Here’s why:
Preparing a recipe and waiting for it to cook and cool before it can be eaten is a great exercise in patience for your child. Baking cakes is a great starting point, as the preparation can be done quickly before too much mess is made or boredom sets in, plus they don’t take long in the oven. You can then progress on to icing and decoration, and the ultimate in patience-tests – bread making.
Plus it’s brilliant for your patience too. If you can sit on your hands whilst waiting for your child to fill cupcake cases with batter, then you’ve truly made it as a parent.
Cooking is a great opportunity in involving your children with new tastes, textures and flavours without it being a scary experience. I’ve found that my two are more interested in vegetables and other things they wouldn’t normally eat if we’re cutting them up or mixing them in to something. Don’t put too much pressure on them to try what you’ve cooked, they’ll get there eventually and might even surprise you!
Making pizza is a great way to try out new ingredients, you could make your own dough or use pitta or tortillas as a base.
New life skills
Cooking gives you plenty of chances to teach your children important life skills and lessons, but in an informal way. From focussing on and following a recipe, to holding and using a knife properly and how a hot oven cooks the food, there’s no end to what you can impart.
The more you practice the more accomplished they will become, and these vital skills will stay with them for a lifetime. I can still remember measuring out sponge mix when I was a girl and now I can pass that on to my daughter.
It’s not just with my daughter either, hopefully my son will be able to fend for himself too when he’s out in the big bad world (and not just rely on takeaways!).
I have some brilliant memories of cooking with my two children, whether it’s the first time my daughter used a Mouli cheese grater or the excitement on their face when their pizzas came out of the oven.
Yes, there’s usually a lot of mess to clear up and hubby and I have to eat most of what they’ve cooked, but it’s all good.