When you teach a kid to cook…

Food is a passion for me. Cooking is a pleasure for me. I love to share everything from recipes to helping teach someone to cook. If you have read my “About” page than you know I didn’t always know how to. I grew up loving the idea of cooking and watching Julia Child on PBS. When I was really young I had a play kitchen set up in my closet and can remember spending hours in there pretending to cook. Junior High School I was forced to take Home Ec. The sewing part was ok but we sewed an apron to use in the cooking unit. My first dish was Ratataouille. I remember my teacher saying mine was perfect. I did a little cooking off and on before I got married but not enough, First night I had my father-in-law over for dinner I had to call and ask him how to cook what I was making. He laughed but was great to tell me how and would teach me a thing or two in the kitchen.

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So I have wanted to teach my kids to cook. I’m in the process of teaching my fifth child to cook. I can’t say it always goes smoothly. I have had kids who clearly didn’t want to be in the kitchen with me and were doing a half ass job. No other way to put it. I end up yelling and they end up walking out of the kitchen. It wasn’t pretty.  Then I have those moments where they were loving every bit of it.  All I needed to do was be there and guide. I have learned what the secret is to this. Actually there’s three.

#1- The student has to want to learn. If they have no interest and your just trying to teach them it’s going to go down hill before it even starts. Especially if they are teens. If they don’t care to learn, so be it. They will learn one day. I did. I know others who did, some of them being my own adult kids.

#2-Strike while the pot is hot! It doesn’t matter the age, every child can do something in the kitchen. I might not allow a 3 yr old to slice up onions but I would allow them to wash the veggies or stir something or help plate. There’s always something age appropriate a child can do. Don’t say “oh your to young for that”. It’s squashes a desire.

#3- Get them involved from planning to plating.  Having been down this road a few times I noticed when one of my kids might say they want to cook. I go over the recipe, shop for the ingredients and plan it out. Then when it comes time to cook they say they will pass. Well if you go back up to #1 you see where that is going to lead. Somehow the magic of it asking them what they want to cook. Plan out the menu. Have them do the shopping and teach them about picking out great ingredients and then have fun with it.

When you teach a kid to cook, you teach them about how to feed their body, you teach them math, geography, science and most important how to take care of themselves. When you teach a kid to cook you give them the tools they need as an adult.

My 13 yr old seems to have the cooking bug right now. It’s lasted longer than any of my other children. He actually has said that when he grows up he wants to either be a Marine or a Chef. Though he thinks he can do both and just might do it that.  I take him to farmer’s markets and he has met our fishmongers and has been invited up to the docks (which we need to do) to see the boats come in and how they prepare the fish for selling. He also loves watching a couple of cooking shows. Most of them, I admit, are Chef Gordon Ramsay shows. Right now he’s loving Chef Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course which is on the BBC channel. I’ve since discovered it’s also a new cookbook he has put out. I see a purchase in the near future.

Prep time!

Prep time!

In the first episode called ” Getting Started” had a recipe for pan-fried scallops with crunchy apple salad. My son decided he wanted to make that after seeing it. We picked a night, watched the show a couple of times and well, last night, he cooked the most perfectly cooked scallops I have ever eaten.

He only asked me to show him how to cut the apple into match sticks. Then told me he was going to do the rest. A little help to show how to zest a lemon and that was it. He cracked me up when he said “Take that Rachel Ray…I cooked dinner in 25 mins!”  Truth be told that really was how long it took him to cook the following. He bragged a little online but the real payoff for him was that smile, that taller stance that he cooked and did so with confidence. That is what I wanted to see.

On the cookery course show there were no measurements. In the following recipe Ramsay called for Lamb’s Lettuce. Our store didn’t carry that so we used a nice organic spring mix.

Voila! Dinner is ready.

Voila! Dinner is ready.

Pan-fried scallops with crunchy apple salad

  • olive oil for the pan
  • scallops (3-4 per person)
  • 2 lemons for juice and zest (one for scallops one for salad)
  • lrg granny smith apple(s)
  • salt and pepper
  1. Heat a pan. When hot pour in oil. Put scallops in clockwise so you know which one to turn first. Turn scallops when golden brown and cooking on other side. Just before they are done add zest and juice of lemon.
  2. Chop apples into matchsticks and add to lettuce.  Add zest and juice of one lemon and drizzle some olive oil and mix salad. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Plate salad and serve scallops on top and enjoy!
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