Cooking with kids: worth the effort? Having spent the day doing just that, I’m inclined to say no, but that’s just because I’m covered in random sticky patches and suspicious that there’s a raw egg dripping down the back of my pants. If you asked me at any other time, I’d say it’s definitely worth the effort, hence why I’ve allowed my 6 year-old niece and two of her friends into my pristine kitchen.
In all seriousness, I think it’s an important life skill, and one that kids should start learning as early as possible. Not that they should be able to produce a Michelin-starred dining experience at this age, but it seems good for them to at least start to realise what a muffin is. All the better if some gathering of ingredients direct from the plant can be incorporated. In this case, the possibility of that was pretty limited, we did manage to snaffle the last of the feijoas from my neighbour’s overhanging tree.
Anyway, what was I on about? That’s right – the value of kids knowing a few ropes in the cooking department. There should be a place where kids can go for this sort of learning – like cookery classes in custom designed kitchens. Moorabbin doesn’t have anything like that already, does it? Maybe I should start it up myself, although after today it’s easy to see why nobody has. It’s stressful, having kids near flames and knobs and knives, although I did my best to minimise the risks.
The layout of my kitchen lends itself fairly well to the purpose – plenty of high shelves that the kids can’t reach, and the spacious, easy-wipe benchtop is accessible via the high breakfast bar stools (Katie-Renee did fall off one of them, but the drama was quickly averted by chocolate nibs). And actually, I think people worry just a bit too much about kids hurting themselves. Certain precautions are absolutely in order, but cooking under careful supervision actually teaches them a lot about common household dangers.
I believe it also helps them appreciate the cooking efforts of adults, and be more open to trying new things.