When I was small I used to spend a lot of time having sleepovers with my Gram and Papa. We would spend time watching public television and specifically we would watch three shows that I remember vividly. The Frugal Gourmet, Cooking with Julia Child and Victory Garden. I remember these times so vividly that recently I was watching Downton Abbey and heard the beginning intro and welled up because I so fondly remember watching these shows with my Gram. Gram was a great baker, I remember making cookies and cakes sometimes pies and breads. I remember the rituals that would go into each of these recipes, how we would wash our hands and lay out the ingredients, these are rituals that thirty years later I am working to create with my petites. Since Z was little I have put her on the counter in her bumbo chair and have her watch while I explained step by step the items I was preparing. Now, it is something that she chooses as a choice activity – cooking projects. She loves them.
I, strongly believe in the importance of spending time cooking together in the kitchen with the petites. I think that it helps them to understand what goes into eating healthy food, it promotes conversations that I don’t believe would happen otherwise and it spurs creativity. Since Z was big enough to hold a spoon, she has been helping me stir.
My petite likes to try new foods, since she was small we’ve had a rule that she has to try everything and we call it an adventure bite, usually this is said louder in a sort of Mighty Mouse tone and I like to throw in a festive right arm air pump. This little gem has worked, she has never, seriously NEVER refused to take an adventure bite, we might have to be persuasive or loud about the ADVENTURE BITE, but she does try everything.
Now I try to make sure that we do cooking projects at least weekly if not more. This week we are making a German Chocolate Cake. This is by far one of the most delicious cakes I have ever made, if you like German Chocolate, you have to make this…you will not regret it.
I’ve been looking at the different sites and pins on Pinterest about cooking with kids, and the specific recipes, but honestly, in my opinion I think that if you’re up for it then you should cook any recipe you want. I’ve given my daughter cooking magazines and had her look at the pictures and then we’ve made the recipe together.
Benefits of cooking with the petites:
- working on basic math skills
- fine motor skills benefit heavily benefit from cutting skills
- working on sequencing – following directions and steps
- talking about food and how it’s made promotes healthy eating habits
- making food give children a sense of purpose and accomplishment
- promotes healthy discussion about food
- this is life long skill you’re promoting
- kids are more likely to eat the foods that they’ve helped to make
- promotes healthy eating habits
- creates memories
- creates other interests: finding out where food comes from, growing your own food and general excitement
Cons of cooking with petites:
- It’s a little more messy
- It takes a little more time
As you can clearly see the benefits outweigh the cons
When you think about all of the benefits and how enjoyable cooking can be this is really something I feel strongly about promoting in my girls. I think that by showing them how to make healthy meals they will have a better relationship with food as they grow older. Not to mention being able to make an amazing birthday cake that tastes better than a store-bought cake….well yes please, now that is a skill I want to foster in the girls.
What are your favorite things to cook with your petites?