Cooking with Kids-Chef Jake

Back in October I posted about Food Day and had my two sons, ages 12 and 17, featured as they cooked a meal from mostly local foods. It was a great time.

This week I thought I would turn my attention back to getting kids in the kitchen and excited about what they are eating. I’ve said it before that my kids do tend to eat a large variety of things I know most kids wont eat. I’d say I am lucky but hoenstly the truth is I have exposed and involved them in new foods and not just served them the new foods. This makes all the difference.

How do I do this? I often ask my kids what they would like to see on on the menu as I plan it out for the week. I take them with me to farmer’s markets, we read lables, we cook together and often if we see something in the grocery store that is new or we have never seen before, we try it. Well minus that Buddha Hand Lemon at Christmas this past year. I wasn’t sure what to do with and it was $5 a pound. Ouch.

Last week while I was menu planning and my youngest son, Jake, was working on some math at the table, I asked if he would like to help cook. He said yeah sure. I found a soup recipe that was geared to kids and asked what he thought. He said great let’s do it. Of course this week when it came time to cook, he had forgotten. He actually seemed a little put off he agreed to make soup. It was like “Really mom? Soup? How boring is that?” But if given the opportunity to step away from his math assignment he’ll do anything. Maybe that is why he agreed in the first place. It was math time.

Stiring and smelling his soup

So there we were, chopping an onion, talking about why we soaked the beans over night, why we were going to brown the onion, what deglazing meant, smelling the aromas and discussing what add ins we would be putting in later along with what seasoning. He discovered he loves the smell of bay leaves and that there was a bit more to making soup than he thought. He then confessed that he loves to cook about as much as he loves to eat. He even said he thinks he might like to be a chef someday, if he decides against enlisting in the Marines. That’s a huge thing to say from a kid who’s room is decorated in military posters and his favorite color is camoflauge.

Making toasts

The soup turned out incredible. He was so excited for his dad to come home so he could share that he cooked dinner (cheesy toasts included) and see what he thought of his culinary adventure.

Dinner cooked by my son. Yay!

I was thankful at that moment I had not let this moment slide and let him get out of cooking after his math lesson and get on Xbox Live or something. Not only did we make memories but he is learning not only the skill of cooking for himself, but about how to cook healthy meals. Can I ask for more?

Kombucha brewing fun

Well it continued on. I had a batch of Kombucha brewing and it was getting close to time to bottle and flavor it. I had mentioned this to my son and he asks if he can help pick a flavor and help bottle. I said sure why not. So there we were in the kitchen again, talking about kombucha, looking the SCOBY over and talking aabout what it is, flavoring and bottling kombucha and then brewing up another batch. I wonder how many twelve year olds brew kombucha and are willing to step away from xbox, computer or legos to do it and say it was fun after. No, no math this time.

There’s a Chinese Prover that says “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” I am hoping I am teaching my kids skills they will use over their lifetime and teaching them to do so in a healthy and fun way. So get your kids invovled in cooking no matter what the age. Even a little one can help pick out and wash veggies for you.

Till next time,
Blessings & Love!
Shelly & Jake

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