Monday, February 29, 2016

Kids in the Kitchen: Cooking for Life

At any point in their lives my children will be able to cook themselves (and their kids, spouses, and maybe their incredible parents) a delicious home cooked meal. They will be able to look at ingredients at a farmers market or a sparse fridge and be able to whip up something filling. We think it is an important skill to have.

I have personally witnessed so many benefits from having my kids help in the kitchen. Food has taught them things I never even thought of.  I just thought they had fun rolling dough, shaping meatballs, and adding ingredients to the pot.

No. It has been so much more.

Both Troy and Athena are far more likely to try new foods.  Spawned from a very picky father, these two have a long list of "no way" foods. Athena's SPD (sensory processing disorder) helps that list gain length. We have taught them that tasting ingredients and your food as you cook is very important. They now taste new foods and enjoy eating the finished product...even when there is broccoli in it.

Troy has learned to focus and uses it in school to combat his ADHD. As with all kiddos (and adults) when Troy enjoys an activity, he tends to focus more. He concentrates while sliding his kid-safe knife through cheese and is using that skill with his math homework and handwriting. He even overcame one of his huge behavior triggers (writing) by concentrating and mastering it.

Athena is learning patience. Something that can be very difficult with Aspergerians. Waiting has never been easy with her.  When you make the pudding for a cream pie, you have to stir, and stir, and stir, and stir some more. And then a little more.  The stirring creates a rich, silky, smooth filling. Otherwise you get clumps and it just isn't the same. Learning that patience (and asking for help to switch off stirring shifts) would create an amazing dessert taught her that sometimes waiting is worth the  end result.

The allergy symptoms in the house have dropped drastically when we started cooking more from scratch rather than boxes and cans.  Everyone of is has an intolerance or allergy to something. Gluten, dairy, egg, soy, red dye, and MSG is the short list.

All of that, and the memories.

Every time I make sweet potatoes with the little marshmallows on top, I think of my grandmother.

When I bake Texas Cherry Bake (pie filling, pie crust and cobbler crumb concoction) I remember the first time my mom made it after finding it in a magazine. My dad was supposed to take it for work but ended up getting the  munchies and chowing down.

My special Stop Light Pepper Chicken brings back memories of the first recipe I ever thought up on my own and serving it at my first adult dinner parties.

And the cream pies. Oh the cream pies.

Every holiday from the time I was old enough to stir I would sit on the counter and continuously stir the delicious pudding that would fill our pies. I was so pride and would beg everyone to eat the pie...even before dinner was served.

Yes, it takes a little longer sometimes as you teach and demonstrate, but so worth it. Get your kids in the kitchen and you will have a blast as well.

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