Sewing on a button, cooking, balancing a checkbook...some things are just survival skills. I want to pass more than just survival skills to my daughters, mind you...but first things first. And I won't bore you with stories of my lack of cooking skills at the age of 18 or even at the age of 22, when I got married. Suffice it to say, I NEED to make sure my girls can cook better than that!
Actually, Little Bit (4 years old) made pizza last night for supper. I cut the crust package open for her and she put on the sauce, cheese, and pepperoni, and I put it in the oven. I wasn't even in the kitchen while she made it. I just kept swinging through to make suggestions. It gave me a taste of how wonderful it will be to have daughters who can cook in a few years! (And then I promptly burned her pizza. Oops.)
My goal is to have the girls be able to handle food prep on their own when they are between 12-14 years old. We'll see how that goal plays out because I know that each kid is different. But that's what I'm working towards. Should I get sick for a few days...they should be able to make supper. And while they are high-school aged, I think they should have one day a week where they are responsible for the meal. NOT just cooking it either---but planning it, purchasing the items (or at least making a list), and cooking it. I think half the battle is planning when it comes to cooking. Actually being the chef is the other half. But if you know how to cook, but not how to make a grocery list or plan for what you will need...you are still sorely lacking in skills wouldn't you say?
I was also thinking that knowing your way around the kitchen is important too. Towards this end, I need to make sure my kitchen is organized in a meaningful way. My girls have helped me cook enough this year that they are already learning where things are. They will need supervision for many more years, but they are getting independent with a lot of the directions I give them such as, "Get out the measuring cup" or "Now we need the sugar." It's a start.
Also, I am typing a cookbook for Sweetheart. So far, she has three recipes in it that she knows how to make: enchiladas, cornbread (from scratch), and peach cobbler. Not that those things go together. I plan to keep adding to her cookbook until she has enough to print out. I will put the pages in a 3 ring binder and add to it as we go. That way, when it is her turn to cook supper (in several years) she will have something to reference. For things I'm not sure she would know, I'm adding little pictures from the internet. When the recipe says "rectangular glass pan" I'm including a picture so she'll grab the right one from the cabinet.
I like to have one child help me with supper at a time. They like the one-on-one attention and it's easier to give out jobs. So far, they are still keen on helping (not every night). If I still worked outside the home, I don't know if I would be having them help or not. But there's always weekends, holidays, and summer! Learning to cook is a non-negotiable to me, it's just a matter of making time to teach them. And I don't think you have to set up some formal "cooking class" or make a big deal about it--I think it just happens over time of having them in the kitchen with you--and being mindful to tell them what you are doing!
And this is one skill that I KNOW both boys and girls need to have! We all gotta eat.
Oooh! Let's combine the skill from yesterday with today's skill, shall we? Check out these links!