Teaching Children to Cook

Is there a magical age where one should begin to teach children to cook? Or is there a magical moment when one recognizes that it’s time to begin to teach the children to cook?

This question has intrigued me for years. In social circles it is often discussed amongst parents of both boys and girls. In my family, I begin teaching my children to cook as soon as they are able to hold a spoon and stir.

Now I must add a disclaimer here, my older son is not as interested in cooking as my younger son or my 2 daughters. He can however make a small list of meals and they are edible. Please though, do not ask him to cook bacon unless you like “bacon flambe‘”.

As soon as my children were able to hold a spoon, I began to teach them to cook. My 13 year old son is fascinated with cooking and since we homeschool he counts cooking as a class. He watches one or two cooking shows per day and is required to make his own breakfast and one meal for the family per week.

A typical meal that he makes might include grilled or fried chicken, a salad and his favorite desert of baked apples. He is very particular about seasonings and cooking temperatures and times.

My now 5 year old daughter has baked many a batch of cookies (I put them in and take them out of the oven). She measures the ingredients under my supervision and mixes them gently in the bowl. She places the dough carefully on the pan and reminds me of the time to set on the timer when I place them in the oven for her. With her hair tied back and an apron on she makes an impressive little cook and the cookies are always great.

My older daughter is living on her own, but it is not unusual to have the phone ring and for her to ask me a specific cooking question….”mom, I’m at the store, is this brand or that better for the meal I am planning?” I always treasure these moments. Not only do I get to talk to my beloved daughter, I also know something she doesn’t know.

I’ve even taught my husband to cook. He is adding to his repertoire on a monthly basis. I was recently sick with a sinus infection and absolutely miserable. My husband went into the kitchen and made a wonderful chicken dinner for our family and a guest.

The guest complimented my husband on the dinner and even inquired as to how he had prepared the chicken, how long it took to bake etc. I was very proud of my husband at that moment.