Author Topic: Kids learning how to cook  (Read 1001 times)

Hula Hoop

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Kids learning how to cook
« on: January 06, 2018, 12:42:24 PM »
My awesome sister gave my 9 year old DD an Italian kids' cook book for Christmas.  So far she has made pasta with home made pesto, mozzarella and tomato salad and ice cream.  Today she pestered us to buy her 00 flour at the supermarket because her project for tomorrow is making home made fresh pasta.  Yum.  She has also mastered scrambled eggs and toast and made me a nice breakfast a few days ago.  I'm really enjoying this and love that she is so enthusiastic about cooking.  Her younger sister also helps out but she's only 6 so can't be trusted with knives or heat.

I have (male) family members who never learned how to cook and I think that this is a real shame.  IMO cooking is an important life skill - especially if you want to be at all mustachian.

Are your kids learning how to cook?  How old were/are they and how did you approach it?

Plugging Along

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Re: Kids learning how to cook
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2018, 06:07:01 PM »
I wouldnít be so sure about not allowing a six yr old with a knife.   Maybe not a large butcher knife but my kids have been helping in the kitchen since about age 4.  Really basic stuff, but they have been using a knife since then.  We got the idea from their Montessori school as the6 had cutting stuff and ironing at 4 and 5 so we said why not. 

M6 kids donít have a passion for cooking (I really like it) but the6 lies to eat so they need to learn.  I think getting the kids in the kitchen young.

Things we have done to help them learn to cook from wHe they wipers little to now (ages 9 and 12)

-Washing fruits and veggies, taking off the produce stickers (my husband still cooks the stickers)

-Knife skills 101 - they get to use a small paring knife, and they cut the ends off beans, and into uniform piecesm same with strawberries, strips of peppers, or anything that isnít too hard to cut.    I used to always check their knife grip and their other hand holding grip.  They start with one bean or piece of food, then as they get better they can increase beans.
-Dicing and cutting more foods such as lettuce, then I moved to onions, and harder itemsof various shapes such as slicing pizza toppings.

Peeling things with a vegetable peeler -  firsti started with hard straight items like carrots, then moved to apples and larger potatoes, now they can peel most things. 

Both of m6 kids were pretty good with a knife and peeler by about 7 or 8.

For other cooking
- teaching the toaster oven safety.  The6 both can make things int he toaster oven.
- cracking a separating eggs.
- basic sautťing.  M6 youngest cannot reach the stove b7t knows how to hold the handle and stir with a stool.
- scrambled eggs
- making rice in a rice cooker.
- making a roux or sauce
- grating cheese ( I have an awesome plastic grater that doesnít cut them)

Both my kids can make a simple meal (the youngest needs help with the stove).  They will assemble meals that donít require a lot of cooking, like advocado toast drizzled with honey, or stuff like that. 

I think itís great your kids are loving cooking, my kids donít love it, but they can do some of it. 


Christof

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Re: Kids learning how to cook
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2018, 06:35:47 PM »
Our son has been using a knife for cooking since he was three... Kids really quickly develop a sense of what they can cut and what seems risky to them. You have to make sure that you are neither pushing them, nor displaying fear and anxiety. If they aren't interested, don't talk them into this, otherwise show how to use knives safely. Don't make it something special and dangerous, because then it will be dangerous.

We just ask if he wants to help cooking. Sometimes he isn't interested at all, sometimes he just watches and sometimes he actually plays an active role in cutting, stirring or even cleaning.

ysette9

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Re: Kids learning how to cook
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2018, 07:25:33 PM »
I agree on the knife but then my kid is very responsible. We taught her from the beginning about touching only the handles and not the blades instead of not touching at all. At three she was cutting veggies at daycare for a salad. Obviously this needs to be closely supervised until you have confidence in them, but I like the idea of getting them exposed early. My kid helps me put away the dishes and I trust her handling the knives (age 3.5).

She is too young to cook herself but I get her to help me with things like pancakes.
I give her the measuring cup nd let her scoop out the floor or baking soda. I give her the whisk and ask her to mix everything up. She doesn’t do a good job her so I use forgivable recipes. :)
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soccerluvof4

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Re: Kids learning how to cook
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2018, 03:05:12 AM »
My daughter when through a stage where she really wanted to learn to cook and somehow she came up with crepes! Every otherday she was making them. That died out and so did her cooking. Shes older and gone now and I dont think she could boil water.
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CupcakeGuru

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Re: Kids learning how to cook
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2018, 04:55:39 AM »
My kids have been helping in the kitchen since they were about 3 or 4. They are 12 and 14 and they cook there own breakfast (eggs, oatmeal, pancakes, waffles etc) and are responsible for one dinner each per week. They have learned how to make soup, fried rice, pasta dishes. DH and I have shown them how to make many different meals.

Most of their friends are not allowed to cook in their own homes. WHen their friends come over they will have "Chopped" competitions like the tv show. Some pretty hilarious stuff has been made. Kitchen is a mess afterwards but I think they are learning how to be independent.

kimmarg

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Re: Kids learning how to cook
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2018, 11:31:51 AM »
My 2 year old absolutely loves to cook. I started letting her "help" around 20 months. The big hits are dough and brownies/muffins. She helps with bread dough and likes to shape/knead it. Brownie mix with about 4 ingredients and then mix is right at her level. Anything more complex looses interest.  Have not started knife skills yet- still working on keeping the spoon in the bowl. She made birthday cake for her grandmother with me today and was incredibly proud of it.  I will say having her 'help' is not a help but my goal is for it to help in a few years...

bogart

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Re: Kids learning how to cook
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2018, 08:27:45 PM »
Mine loved to bake when he was about 2-4, and involving LOs in baking (particularly if as in my case there is just one LO, so no fights over who gets to dump/mix what) is pretty straightforward.  I could easily have an hour of kitchen/house time (for better or for worse) while he mixed and tasted all the ingredients in banana bread, a mixing process (I skip the tasting parts) that otherwise takes me 10 minutes on a really slow day. 

Now that he's 10, he can actually be a bit helpful in the kitchen, and I basically just ask him to help when I'm cooking stuff, with steps he can manage.  He's neither tremendously interested nor tremendously good at it, but I figure in the next 8 years he needs to learn the basics.  I'm still pretty involved with supervising the knife and/or stove/oven (i.e. hot) stuff, or just manage those parts myself (see: neither tremendously interested nor tremendously good, I think a more motivated 10-year old might be fine with these tasks).

samusugiru

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Re: Kids learning how to cook
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2018, 01:04:09 PM »
Is that book the silver spoon for kids? We gave it to our daughter this Christmas.  They've been interested in cooking from as soon as they could indicate an interest. They are fivery now and I will give them instructions and let them do the rest including on the stove. They can cook all the basics, pancakes, apple cake, frying, steaming, pasta etc. They still have issues with mixing things properly so need me to point it out to them. Now that they are beginning to read I'm hoping they can start following recipes to cook without my help. This yoghurt cake recipes is a good starter for kids. http://themamanotes.com/bringing-up-bebes-yogurt-cake-recipe/
And also a basic quiche with premade pastry. Both recipes are fun because the kids enjoy adding their own ingredients and experimenting. So they might add chocolate or blueberries to the cake and whatever vegetables they prefer to the quiche.

jeninco

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Re: Kids learning how to cook
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2018, 01:35:06 PM »
Popping in (ha, my 13-yo made popovers this morning) to mention that if your kids have a tough time taking instruction from you, you may be able to organize a class that covers knife skills at a local cooking school. Over one day off, we organized 4-6 kids to take a class that I requested by "dinners you could make at home" rather than "all desserts to get the kids hooked in."  They were quite willing to work with me on menus, and spent the first hour or 2 going over knife skills and having the kids practice  -- they pre-chopped everything they were going to use, then made the three or so meals.

Kids came home with recipes for what they'd made, and have made those (and other) meals since. We try to have each kid make dinner once/week, but mine are older (13 and 16). The goal is to have them be able to make at least 5-7 dinners from scratch before they move out.

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Kids learning how to cook
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2018, 02:35:08 PM »
I have a 10 & 11 year old. So far, they can competently make a salad, make pasta, make a sandwich, and with supervision, do plenty of other things. Yesterday, my 10 year old wanted hummus, but I was in the middle of doing something else. I got out the recipe for him, answered questions, and ensured safe use of the food processor. He even taste tested & made adjustments to the lemon juice & the salt.

Same 10 year old is a super picky eater. So, for any night where he won't eat the main course, he is welcome to avail himself of leftovers in the fridge, or to make himself something else. It's typically pasta & meatballs (from the freezer).

Hula Hoop

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Re: Kids learning how to cook
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2018, 01:52:45 PM »
Is that book the silver spoon for kids? We gave it to our daughter this Christmas. 

Yes!  How did you know?  It's a great book and also good because we live in Italy so the ingredients are easily available.

samusugiru

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Re: Kids learning how to cook
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2018, 05:00:48 AM »
The adult version is rather famous, considered the bible of Italian cooking and the kids version is very good too. Actually all the phaidon cook books are good. The French one is my all time favourite, originally written early 20th century it's very economical and sensible.

sparkytheop

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Re: Kids learning how to cook
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2018, 08:49:35 AM »
My son is now 20, but I started him off when he was very young, always believing a man should know how to cook (well, everyone, but...)  He'd help out by grating cheese, stirring something, measuring ingredients, etc.  His interest really took off when he found a package of Ramen noodles (the cheap, 10 for a $1 kind).  I'd bought them when he had a surgery (so 5 or 6), but never ended up using them.  He'd never had them, and when he realized they would just be noodles and broth, he wanted to know if he could add anything.  By the time he was done, he had a full-blown soup with carrots, celery, onions, ground beef, and probably other random stuff.  It was actually pretty good.

Ever since, he has enjoyed trying new things in the kitchen.  He's living at home while going to the community college, and I swear that teaching him to cook was one of the best moves I ever made.  He is trying different techniques, different "ethnic" foods (we recently got an Asian market in our little town, and it's been awesome-- he even made sushi), etc.  He'll look up stuff online and try it out.  A couple weeks ago he made pizza with no sauce, figs, bacon, gorgonzola, and a little avocado oil.  It was surprisingly delicious.  Earlier this week he made some kind of "Nigerian street vendor" beef kabobs (used a lot of peanut and ginger powders for the rub, and was also delicious).

I wanted him to be able to follow a recipe, as well as learn a little "dump cook by feel/taste" cooking.  He's far exceeded my expectations and has become quite the cook.

One thing I did with him when little was give him a recipe book and let him pick new things to try.  It helped keep things interesting!

Hula Hoop

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Re: Kids learning how to cook
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2018, 01:05:42 PM »
The adult version is rather famous, considered the bible of Italian cooking and the kids version is very good too. Actually all the phaidon cook books are good. The French one is my all time favourite, originally written early 20th century it's very economical and sensible.

I own a 1960s copy of the Silver Spoon in Italian.  I inherited it from a former landlord's former tenants (they left it behind when they moved out and we moved in and landlord said we could keep it).  It's full of hilariously dated recipes like things in aspic.  TBH I've never cooked anything from it as the recipes seem really meat heavy but maybe I should try some stuff out.

Domigab

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Re: Kids learning how to cook
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2018, 11:20:32 AM »
My 7 year old is starting to become interested in cooking after watching some cooking shows. She helps me add ingredients and measure them. She isn't always focused so she doesn't always stay until the recipe is completed. My three year old likes to play with the dough when I am making pizza, bread, pierogies, or tortillas. He is my pickiest eater so I hope if he is involved in the cooking process he might eat more. I want to buy nylon kid safe knives so that my oldest can start helping with some of the food prep.

NeonPegasus

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Re: Kids learning how to cook
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2018, 11:41:25 AM »
I don't push the cooking much until the kid is old enough to read. I need to be working more with my 8 year old but my 10 year old is responsible for cooking a side every night, which is generally roasted vegetables or a quick bread. She can read recipes and make breadmaker bread and a few main dishes as well.

When they were younger, they enjoyed the yogurt cake from Bringing Up Bebe but we don't make desserts much and I don't have the patience for the giant mess involved. I need help, not an extra job. ;)

As far as knives go, the oldest is reasonably proficient. She's cut herself a time or two but then again, so have I. That's part of being a cook. I don't have her do anything that requires a ton of strength like sweet potatoes (seriously, why are they so hard to cut?) but she can do most other things.

I'm sure my 4 year old would like to help but that's more of a fun project for her rather than a help for me.

birdman2003

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Re: Kids learning how to cook
« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2018, 12:05:50 PM »
I wish I had been taught how to cook as a kid.

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Kids learning how to cook
« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2018, 12:49:40 PM »
I started baking with my kids when they hit 18 months old (they loved pouring in pre-measured ingredients and stirring).  We'd sit on the floor on a towel with the bowl so they could reach.  As they got taller, we graduated to the kitchen island with a stool.

At age 3, we taught them how to make their own PB&J sandwiches.

By 4 or 5, they were washing fruits and helping measure dry ingredients.

Now, they are 8, 10, and 12.  They are all perfectly capable of baking brownies, banana bread, or a cake from scratch with no parental oversight.  They can make their own oatmeal and mac and cheese, and use the rice cooker.  I need to start giving them real food recipes and let them try.

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asauer

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Re: Kids learning how to cook
« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2018, 06:28:46 AM »
Agree!  Mine were 5 when I started teaching them.  At that point is was mostly assembly and stirring.  At 7 I started showing them how to use a paring knife (easy to control for short fingers) and they would cut up small fruits/ veggies and use the microwave/ mixer.  We slowly increased so now at 10 they can use a smaller chefs knife, and use the stove/ oven (with supervision of course).  I still don't let them have music or TV on while they cook- too distracting!

samusugiru

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Re: Kids learning how to cook
« Reply #20 on: January 17, 2018, 07:07:01 AM »
The adult version is rather famous, considered the bible of Italian cooking and the kids version is very good too. Actually all the phaidon cook books are good. The French one is my all time favourite, originally written early 20th century it's very economical and sensible.

I own a 1960s copy of the Silver Spoon in Italian.  I inherited it from a former landlord's former tenants (they left it behind when they moved out and we moved in and landlord said we could keep it).  It's full of hilariously dated recipes like things in aspic.  TBH I've never cooked anything from it as the recipes seem really meat heavy but maybe I should try some stuff out.

I inherited a staub grill pan from my mum's tenants who left it behind! Tbh, I've barely cooked from my silverspoon book although I've made quite a few things from the kids edition. My dh is Polish and aspic is big there, particularly at weddings. I'll never forget a miserable Christmas we spent with a distant relative who insisted on making us eat all 12 dishes she cooked. Not only was she a terrible cook but everything was covered in aspic, including carp which really requires an experienced cook since its such a disappointing gelatinous fish anyway.  And we had to eat there for lunch and dinner for several days.

Surprisingly aspic can actually taste good when made with a nice broth and with an appropriate accompaniment. I've had it done well once, usually it's as unappetising as it looks!

FireHiker

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Re: Kids learning how to cook
« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2018, 02:10:53 PM »
My six year old LOVES to cook, so I've started getting her involved every time I get a chance. She is my go-to egg cracker and hardly ever gets shell in anymore (she cracks in a small bowl just in case). She isn't quite reading independently yet, so I have to give her a fair bit of instruction, but she loves baking. We've decided that this is the year that the kids learn how to be useful (cooking and cleaning).

And, I don't even know what aspic is. Off to search on the internet. :)