Cooking with kids

If my husband and I had a show on Food Network, we’d have to call ourselves the Messy Chefs. We are pro at making a complete mess of the kitchen anytime we cook together.

The kids are starting to get in on the action, and I’ve considered sending Food Network some feedback about the challenges on their shows. Cooking for kids? How about cooking with kids? Now, there’s a challenge.

And it’s one I’ve voluntarily undertaken. Anytime I start preparing food for lunch or dinner, I’ve got two willing helpers instantly at my side.

Sort of like this.

Now, I know someone is going to warn me about the dangers of letting my kids “help” too close to a hot stove.

Trust me; it’s more dangerous if they don’t help. Like yesterday when we were making ratatouille (which I’m pretty sure is French for “everything but the kitchen sink”), I didn’t have much for them to do, so they made their own fun.

A pastry brush became a paintbrush. The meat mallet was a hammer that had to hit everything. (I cringed with every “BANG!”) My favorite, though, was the whisks, which they whisked into guitars. “Guitar, guitar,” Corban yelled as he air strummed through the kitchen.

Anyway, I decided to partially harness this eagerness to help and let Isabelle pick out one meal a week (that’s the goal, at least) that she wants to make.

We used this book:

To make these last week:

Piggy pies, they were called. And the only problem was Corban kept trying to eat the eyes (peas) before they went in the oven. How creepy would blind pigs have been?

They both had a blast, and I think Isabelle enjoyed eating more because she had helped make them.

Of course, this whole experiment requires large extra doses of patience and a frequent letting go of control, both of which do not come easily to me, especially when trying to accomplish a task.

Gradually, we’re letting Isabelle, and Corban to some extent, help more with food prep.

Here, she was helping us make baked hush puppies for Phil’s birthday meal on Sunday.

I love her two-handed method for stirring the wet and dry ingredients.

Cooking with kids isn’t always easy and sometimes we break a few eggs (unintentionally) but for me, it’s more fun to have them helping, even if the whole process takes longer.

Do your kids like to help in the kitchen? How do you let them be involved?

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