Kids In the Kitchen

The other night Samantha said, “Daddy’s a better cook than you.”  I was shocked, since Daddy doesn’t cook.  So I said, “What? What has Daddy cooked?”  Her response, “He made soup and hamburgers yesterday and they were both better than this.”  Thanks, kid.

Sam stayed home sick from school on Tuesday.  Sean got the two of them In-n-Out burgers for lunch and he heated up a can of Campbell’s chicken noodle soup for dinner when Sam didn’t want the pasta I made.  (I have to note, he tried to use a can opener on the pull tab lid of the soup.)  Meanwhile, I had made potato tacos for dinner.  Refried beans mixed with salsa, diced potatoes (you know, hash brown style), taco shells, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese for the non-vegans in the house.   Pretty healthy and tasty, but not greasy or salty.    I put the ingredients on a plate and let them make their own tacos.  Sometimes they eat more of it than others.  Last night, I think Ella and Sam had cheese and taco shells for dinner.  Penny also ate the potatoes.

Now, that wasn’t a hard meal to make by any means, but it did take some time and, as is frequently the case, I got complaints.  So why do I bother?    I could just go and grab McDonald’s every day, or go to a semi- healthy place like Panera bread, and save myself some grief.

Of course, I bother so my kids will hopefully learn to be generally healthy eaters when they grow up and know how to cook a little.  To that extent, I let them help me sometimes (depending on my patience).  Ella and Sam both love to help me make smoothies and know the ingredients needed to do so (including the hemp powder I’ve started putting in).    When we go to the grocery store, they help pick out the produce and sometimes we buy things just because they want to try them (like purple potatoes, a little earthy, but not bad).

Sam chopping eggplant for marinara sauce

I let Samantha help make dinners quite a bit during nap time.  This week she assembled the pizza almost completely by herself, including making my vegan portion first and helping herself to some tofu in the process.  She also has started helping me chop vegetables.  I was a little scared to hand a knife to a 4 year old, but she does  a really decent job.  Her pieces aren’t uniform, and she doesn’t do the ends because she’s afraid she might cut herself (which I think demonstrates good judgement), but overall, she does well.     Do you let your kids help in the kitchen?

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13 Responses to “Kids In the Kitchen”

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  1. Missy
    Twitter: aytgim

    I do try and let the kids help me in the kitchen when I have the time and the patience. I think by letting them help choose the food and to cook it, they become more vested in it and they have a better chance of actually eating it.

  2. Potato tacos! I want to make those. Do you use regular corn taco shells or flour tortillas?

  3. Kristy says:

    Yum, eggplant! My little one isn’t ready for that kind of helping yet. So far I just have him take things to the table and he likes that.

    I LOVE this detail: I have to note, he tried to use a can opener on the pull tab lid of the soup.)

  4. Rachel says:

    I don’t think it’s too young for her to help at all. I think I was practically cooking my own meals by the time I was 4! Oh to be the forgotten last child ;) However, props to your patience, cause I know exactly how much it takes to have a little kid helping you in the kitchen… and how messy it can be to have that little helper. :)

  5. DaenelT
    Twitter: DaenelT

    LOL When my kids were little my husband used to “cook” for them sometimes and they ate it like it was a gourmet meal. What did he cook? Mac~n~Cheese with cut up hot dogs.

  6. Casey
    Twitter: MaritimeMom

    I am a terrible cook, and I hate doing it, but the family deals with it. With the 3 y.o. I do find she eats more of my food if I let her help. (Which means scheduling an extra hour into cooking…and what seems like 2 hours for cleaning up). She is more apt to eat because “she made it”. (I cook mostly vegan, so she gets her meat fix when Daddy ccoks).

    • Jessica Anne says:

      It really is amazing how much extra time it takes. I find myself resisting just doing it myself to get it done. Hopefully, with enough practice, they’ll be able to cook for us. Sounds like an at least weekly chore in the making. :)

  7. Leslie
    Twitter: crunchybetty

    I have tried for years to get Jackson to help out in the kitchen, and was finally this summer that he seemed like he was interested. Mostly when I was making something he didn’t like.

    He knew the trick. “Jackson, we’re having spinach fritatta for dinner.”

    “Oh, really? I was hoping you’d let me try to make my own quesadilla today. I’ve been wanting to try forEVER. You know, by myself.”

    He knows that kind of reasoning will never be met with a “no.”

    Also? Sam is so adorable, my heart melted into a puddle. And so responsible! Good job, Mom.

    • Jessica Anne says:

      That is some wily reasoning. I know it would work on me. I’m already plotting to have mine cook a full meal at least once a week when they’re older. Haven’t decided if I’ll let them work together or each do a separate day. It will probably depend on how tired of cooking I am.