Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Cooking Lesson: Eggs and Toast

Genevieve is seven-and-a-half years old and she is ready.  We are taking a bit more formal approach to cooking this summer.  Every Wednesday, we will have a cooking lesson and then I will share it with you!

Genevieve flew down the steps to get the eggs out of the fridge although normally she lolls in bed as long as possible.  What a nice sign of her interest and pleasure in cooking lessons!

I hadn't thought through much of what I was going to say or teach, unusual for me.  I simply talked her through the process of frying eggs and making toast, trying to let her make her own mistakes when possible and offer simple tips when possible.  She was tractable (praise God! - a good sign that the timing is right!) and pretty competent.

Genevieve learned how to turn the stove burner on, how much bacon grease to put in the pan, how to flip eggs over-hard, and how to go back and forth from toaster to stove to get the eggs and toast out at relatively the same time.  She learned how hard it is to tug open the oven door where the skillet is kept.  She swiped the lid of the butter dish to the floor, breaking it in two tidy pieces that have already been glued together (whew - I do like that butter dish).  So we talked about keeping things back from the edge of the counter.

I purposely kept the lesson to once a week to make sure I would follow through and not be overwhelmed.  Yet when I was putting together the lemon chiffon pudding for our first strawberries, she stayed wistfully and insistently at my elbow until I put the mixer in her hand and showed her how to turn it on.  I am deeply gratified by her interest and I hope I can show her what pleasure and creativity I enjoy in the kitchen.  I welcome any advice you have for me!


  1. Good job Genevieve! As for the butter dish episode...we talk about keeping things "off the sidewalk"! :)

    Oh, how I wish I had done this sooner with my daughter! It's been hard, with my schedule in the barn, but I am determined that this summer I will teach Jenna more about cooking!

  2. I see you also dressed her charmingly for the occasion - I hope it continues to go well for you both.

  3. In my opinion you are already doing the right things - offering the opportunity when her interest is high, being patient and encouraging, and enjoying cooking, yourself ... I love to see a mom (or a dad) who nurtures like that. I've seen eager children who are criticized, belittled and punished for simply being children - having undeveloped coordination or not having learned certain skills or concepts. It is so heartening - and heartwarming - to see the opposite, to see parenting done well!

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  5. I agree, you and Genevieve are both doing a fab job :)

    All 3 of mine (a boy sandwiched in the middle of 2 girls) LOVE cooking and food, and it's been worth the (at times) gritted teeth as I let them slow me down by 'helping' when really I just wanted to get dinner on the table, but now all 3 of them (14, 12 and 9 yrs) have meals that they can be pretty much be left to get on with by themselves. The eldest will often offer to make a meal.
    I think you're doing absolutely the right thing in showing how to cook meals. I work in a school and do a lot of cooking with the children. Those that are ever allowed to help in the kitchen mostly make cupcakes. Fun, but not very useful by itself.

    The other thing all 3 of mine have loved is having a 'signature dish'. I think the first ones were macaroni cheese (not from a packet!), eggs baked in big tomatoes and a roast pepper dish with tomatoes and garlic in the pepper halves.

  6. Good job! My kids all enjoyed less formal lessons, which would have been better probably.

  7. I LOVE this! The sunlight, her attire, and the fact of the lesson itself. So smart of you to teach your children to cook. I didn't learn this stuff formally at all, and didn't learn it casually until I was much, much older than Genevieve.

    It floors me that she doesn't need a step stool. She can just work at the counter. Oh, they GROW!

  8. Love it. All of it.

    My kids start out using a paring knife when they are a solid two and from there I've left them stir things on the stove, prep simple veggies, and of course measure/stir the ingredients together for baked goods. They also love to shape their own tiny bread loaves. I just introduced Jada to kneading bread but she's not quite strong enough to handle a big ball of dough. She has the motions down but doesn't put in the necessary "oomph".

    I don't think you need any tips. Looks like you are doing exactly what you should be doing! My problem is that I'm not very patient and I get very flustered when things like the butter dish happen. I need to reign in my impatience and be more gracious with the kids (in all areas, not just in the kitchen!). You inspire me to do better. Thanks!

  9. How adorable Genevieve looks, cooking in her apron.. She seems to be doing an excellent job..[As is her teacher/mom]
    You said, she was in the kitchen with you watching with interest. I think that is the first and most important thing.. My daughter stayed in the kitchen with me, and Learned mostly from watching me and our chats about what I was doing and why? I sure miss my little cook..[she is now a super good cook , in her own kitchen].
    Bty... when she was 11 yrs old, I had to work night shift at the hospital for 3 yrs. Lots of the nights I had to work, she cooked supper for the family.

  10. Zoe, I can prep myself mentally and gear up my patience when I know there's a formal lesson one day a week. Other times when the kids ask if they can do a kitchen project, I might be less patient and might say no. I adore being efficient in the kitchen, and that doesn't mix well with kids! So, I understand what you're saying. I'm impressed with the paring knife at age 2!

  11. Oh, what a great gift you are giving your sweet girl!!! Being able to cook like this is a skill that will serve her well AND allow for fun and creativity, too. Super idea.

  12. Re: the formal lesson prep. Good point! Sometimes I will say to myself, "the kids can help this time" and those times almost ALWAYS go better than when they ask to help. I never made the connection so thank you!


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