They have the toy kitchen set, they have the plastic shopping cart loaded with food, and they have the dress-up chefs jacket — but have your children had the opportunity to help you in the kitchen? There comes a point for most children when they will express an interest in cooking. Before dismissing the idea because you think that kids are too young or that cooking is too dangerous an endeavor, consider this — research suggests that kids who cook tend to eat more healthfully, choosing fruits and vegetables more often than their non-cooking peers. Plus, they’ll take tremendous pride in what they accomplish.cooking with kids requires more time than cooking alone and extra supervision to prevent injuries and accidents, it is a wonderful way to spend quality time with your child, to foster creativity, and to bolster self-esteem.
Start by talking to your child (regardless of her or his age) about potential dangers in the kitchen. Even very young children can understand simple ideas like the oven getting hot or a knife causing a cut (or “boo boo”). Then, give your child simple tasks, like washing vegetables, pouring ingredients into a bowl, or stirring. When he or she is ready, teach him or her to cut ingredients safely (start your children out with a child-safe knife or butter knife and supervise them constantly). Before long, your child will be rolling meatballs and rubbing spices onto chicken — just like a real chef.
Need a few recipes to help you get started? Here are nine chef-worthy recipes that are easy enough for you and your child to make together.
Baked Egg Cups
Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.