Monday, June 04, 2012

Let your kids loose in your kitchen!  Are you sweating with panic already?  Have visions of children with kitchen knives and setting the blender full of stuff on with no lid on? 

I cannot promise they will be instant Jamie Olivers, but as much as I like a tidy kitchen kids have got to learn to cook and making a mess is how they do it best- in my humble opinion!

My golden rule when cooking and baking with kids is to let the mess happen. If mess makes you stressed, look at ways to contain the disaster zone. A large tray underneath any sprinkling or mixing can really help and when weighing out, give your children a spoon to scoop out flour and sugar rather than upturning a whole bag into your measuring bowl. Let them get their hands dirty (putting flour on your hands and then clapping them together is a particular fave of mine!), but have a sink run with soapy water at the ready. 

There are so many recipes I would like to suggest to get you and your kids cooking but remember a few rules when selecting:
  • Keep it simple- not too many ingredients, not too many steps and not too complicated a process.
  • Keep it fun- pick things that can be iced, decorated and covered in sprinkles to start off with.
  • Keep it tasty- My kids love a relatively spicy Thai chicken curry but don't think your kids will love chili so hot it tingles their lips into meltdown!  If your making a meal for all the family pick something everyone will love- if your kids helped cook it, getting to watch everyone finish their plates, smiling will be the best inspiration to keep cooking.
  • Keep up with gadgets- my kids love revving my KitchenAid up to full tilt!  Their faces light up as the beater spins furiously, spraying mixture all over the surrounding area!  It's a way to get much smaller children involved.  My 6 year old can stir a hot pan at the stove now but my 3 year old is quite happy with revving the gadgets.  Both are involved but at the right level for their age!  Simply letting your kids switch things on is a start to cooking.
I hope my two boys will love cooking, or at the very least be able to fend for themselves in the big world one day.  I know they will still order bad food from a shop with a fluorescent sign at 2am in the morning but I just hope they don't try to warm a pot noodle up on the oven hob (Hubby's friend at University did that, only to set many fire alarms off!).

Giving your kids the right start in the kitchen is a win win situation!  I figure in a few years they can cook me a meal, whilst I relax, gin and tonic in hand.  Oh, one final tip- teach them to love washing up too, and if you figure out how to make men love this job let me know!!

My top kids recipes to follow soon.......

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  1. You are a superstar Mum Elyse .... from your biggest fan !!!!

  2. And I will second that - from an equally biggest fan!!


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