Families preparing foods and cooking together is so important to ensure that quality time is being spent together and we as the parents, are teaching our younger generations to take care of themselves. Then one day they will be able to cook for their own kids. We are such a technology driven world these days (as I write this to put it up on my site LOL) that I think we have moved away from spending time on the important things with our families.
I was raised to know how to take care of myself because that is my responsibility. My kids are being raised with the same principals. Family cooking together involves team work, creative sharing and learning. Not only do delicious home cooked meals get made but you are all growing with knowledge and it is something that is fun!
To me, there is nothing I would rather be doing on a snowy cold day then stand in the kitchen with my kiddos and make a huge batch of delicious chocolate chip cookies. The oven warm and delicious, warm comforting smells permeating the house. Each person gets their own apron and their own jobs to do. They love measuring, pouring cracking eggs and stirring.
Of course, they are never upset with getting the mixing spoons to clean after I am done mixing everything up either! At the end when those piping hot cookies are pulled out of the oven and the chocolate is so melty and warm, well they must taste those as well. Happy little chocolate faces! Plus, they get to help make the cookies, so it makes them taste just that much better and they are always proud of what they made.
Learning about the different ingredients
It is important to teach our kids how to cook so they can cook for themselves and learn to rely on their own abilities. Our little kids get to learn about the different fruits and vegetables and measuring. They also learn what foods are healthy and not so healthy. We talk about what foods belong in what food groups and how they help. The bigger kids can learn about safely handling raw meats and knives.
I have also been taking my kids to the store with me when I do my shopping so that they are more aware of the costs associated with going to the store. Their little eyes bulge and jaws drop when they see that the bill is anywhere from $150-500 in one trip and this is even with my super coupon skills. This eye-opening experience has help to curb the “Can I have this Mom or Oh I want this!”.
I show them how to look for deals on meat and canned goods, how to look for meat that is worth purchasing and ones that aren’t. I also teach them that sometimes the generic foods taste better than name brand foods! We will stand in the produce section and I will have them pick out the fruits and vegetables we are going to get so I can show them what good produce looks, feels and smells like. In fact, I have been approached by people that told me they were impressed that the kids were learning this at their ages. The kids love learning about everything and soak knowledge up like little sponges. They also feel like they have a say in what they get to eat, and it makes them want to eat the prepared foods more.
How to use the many different kitchen utensils and tools
My kids have learned how to use many different types of cooking utensils, how to measure and crack eggs properly, read a recipe, turn on the oven and use a handheld mixer and a standalone mixer. Right now, we are learning what the different types of knifes there are, and which knife they can use on what ingredient. This summer we learned how to safely handle raw meat. That was a shock for everyone! The meat laid out in front of them on the table is NOTHING like what comes out of the package LOL!
Create some fantastic family memories!
Spend some quality time with your significant other and your kiddos. During the summer we do a big BBQ on the weekends. Sometimes we have guests but most of the time we just make a bunch of food to have for eating during the week. I prepare the sides with my husband and my kids. My husband will then spend about 5 hours smoking the meats. So delicious! Our sides menu consists of green beans with bacon, pasta salad, corn pudding or corn on the cob, and all kinds of fruit. My husband will throw about 10 pounds of meat on the grill which sounds like a lot, but it will be eaten in our house for sure within a week. Usually have meats that were on sale hamburgers (we make our own patties), hot dogs, bacon, pork chops, sometimes a salmon filet, bratwurst.
Doesn’t this look amazing! This is what the smoker looks like right after he loads all the meat on it!
My husband drinks his beer while he tends to the smoker and watches the kids play on their electric bikes, chasing each other around the yard. I love it because the kids are getting exercise and working up their appetites and there are no electronics in use. I am running in and out of the house preparing foods and laying out fresh-cut watermelon or cantaloupe every few minutes because the kids can’t get enough of it! Even though we are creating food for the whole week, the atmosphere is relaxed and fun. Everyone is always joking around, laughing and having a great time. Plus, it helps mom out with easy meals for the rest of the week. When we have friends of the family come over, they leave stuffed and very happy. The simplest of foods made with love make a huge difference in how they turn out.
The whole point of my ramblings above is….
If you plan ahead and work as a team, family cooked meals can be fun and refreshing and take some of the chore out of cooking. The rewards are that you have at least one meal made, everyone gets to help create the masterpiece and you get to spend some non-technology driven time together.