Let her cook?

I finally decided we were close enough to trash day yesterday .. to go ahead and dump out some old food.  Which, I hate ever doing.  Wasting food.  And throwing food out.

But when you’re living alone part of the time and still have to shop for others to be with you the other part of the time, it somehow seems inevitable.  Which is why, over the years, I’ve taken to eating out more than I should.

In trying to get back to spending less, eating healthier and being home more .. something I want for myself and that the Cowboy is encouraging me to do as well… I’m trying to get back into this cooking thing.

……

I’ve always loved to cook.  Love looking at recipes.  Love having family and friends over for meals.  I have an extensive collection of favorite cookbooks.  But at the moment, in our last move and in severely trying to downsize, I’ve pulled out only a few from the boxes.

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The rest, for now .. sit in storage.

I’m not sure when exactly .. I got so far away from that.  But fairly certain it was as I adjusted to a new life, during my divorce.

Six years later …

My daughter is wanting desperately to learn to cook.   So I’m trying to find the time between getting home late each evening during the week when I have her, homework, taking the dogs out, picking up and getting her to bed.  Which doesn’t leave us much time.  To cook.  Anything but buttered noodles (any pasta), rotisserie chicken and a salad.  (Yes, I know I can throw something in the crock pot.  That would require more advance planning and it just never seems to work out that we actually eat what goes in there.  A lot still gets thrown away.)  We eat a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables.  Again, really no cooking involved.  And on weekends between traveling back and forth to South Dakota, visiting family or friends here, it seems someone else is always the one at the stove.

SO… when I’m not looking:

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(Sorry for the close-up.)

She ‘cooks.’

Grapes.  Bananas.  Swedish Fish.  Apples.  Some sort of sugary sauce.  Pretty sure that’s what I ended up throwing out yesterday after it sat in the refrigerator for a couple days.  (No garbage disposal or it would’ve gone out much sooner.)

At 10 years old .. she whips up whatever concoction she can, whenever I turn my back or give her a few minutes alone now, while I run errands or walk the dogs.

No stove though.  One of the rules.

So she gets creative.

And she loves it.  She will also usually try and stomach eating whatever it is she’s ‘cooked’ just to prove a point.  That she’s ready to learn.

……

In writing this – I’ve learned its not only a rite of passage by doing a little research, it’s healthy in so many ways for a child to learn to cook.  Especially now that she’s learning fractions in math, cooking might be a great way to give her practical application.  Hadn’t thought about that until this moment.  And perhaps I should have done more to bring her into the kitchen years ago.

From eHow Family:

What Children Learn from Cooking

Teaching children to cook is not only a valuable life skill, but it incorporates other important skills as well. When children cook, they have a chance to practice math skills, work on following directions, learn to work with an adult and get a sense of accomplishment. Children as young as 3 can begin learning to cook.

  1. Skills for Younger Cooks (under 5)

    Reading Aged Children (5-7)

    School Aged (7 and up)

    Significance

    Fun Fact

    Warning

I waffle back and forth between wanting to fuss at her for wasting so much food (and money in the process) that would have been part of her school lunch or our dinner.  And, allowing her the space to be creative.  To cook. And I know it’s in her best interest to teach her.

So while I look for the time, I send her to look for the dish soap.  Because if she’s going to learn to cook ..

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10 thoughts on “Let her cook?

  1. Yes yes and yes. Kids must learn to cook. And although mistakes happen, it’s not so much just because she’s still a kid – yesterday I made something nobody wanted to eat, too, by adding something instead of what the recipe calls for because I didn’t have that ingredient… But I learned Ricotta doesn’t work so well in smoothies :). Won’t do that again.

    • ew, Ricotta in a smoothie? The things we do to improvise. Sorry didn’t turn out. But yes, agree. And after meditating on it a bit .. writing this morning, I’m going to make a more concerted effort to have her help out one night/week at very least, making dinner. Fun to be had…. and material I’m sure, for future posts.. Thanks for reading!

  2. My kids cook. They do well together they each have something to do. My 8 year old makes awesome spaghetti sauce. Oldest child does chicken well and middle one is just coming into wanting to cook. The only one that isn’t allowed to use the oven is the youngest girl. But they all get to use the stove top. Good luck and make the time. It is fun cooking together.

  3. My son is 13 and one helluva cook! He’s been cooking since he was about 9, he’ll throw all sorts of things together. Recently I allowed him to make DINNER for the whole family. It was delicious. Some kind of pasta and sausage creation, but we ate it. My daughter, on the other hand, is 17, and still, it’s “NO STOVE” for her! I notice though that the littler ones are wanting more and more to help in the kitchen. Maybe one day our house will run on rotation and I won’t be cooking 25 meals a week, I will have little chefs to tackle half of them! (I can dream, right?)

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