Friday, March 8, 2019

The Big Kids Cook Supper

Have you ever broken down the skills that go into cooking a good meal?  There's planning ahead to decide what to cook, matching that up to what's in the pantry and planning how and when to get other ingredients.  Then you have to decide what recipes, or else have some back-pocket knowledge of food if you're not using recipes.  And will the people you're feeding like what you're planning?  Is it balanced - protein, carb, veg/fruit? Then you have to time the whole shebang to be done at the same time, preferably the time your people are expecting to eat.  Wow! That's a lot of skills!

So obviously, this is a big step for kids to produce a meal.  Over the years, however, I've taught them some individual recipes and they've made one-off desserts.  Also, since I stopped making breakfast for everyone, Ben and Genevieve have gotten more experience with what it takes to prepare a meal if they feel like eating something other than cereal. 

Ben and Genevieve take turns cooking dinner on Saturday evenings.  Early in the week, I discuss the menu with them and help them make a plan.  I shop for any ingredients they need.

On Saturday, I leave the kitchen in the late afternoon and park myself somewhere in the house with a project that can be interrupted.  They come and consult with me if they need to (usually do), and I don't have to sit on my hands and bite my tongue watching them cook. They do fine! They do things differently from me! It's mean to expect them to be tidy and efficient when they're beginners!

Some of Ben's menus:  
vegetarian chili, cornbread, and pickles
Singapore street noodles (with Dad's help)
dhal, rice, greens in peanut sauce

Some of Genevieve's menus: 
chicken corn noodle soup, pimento cheese + crackers, cranberry applesauce
taco salad
waffles, creamed spinach, pickles, and waffles with ice cream and magic shell

Ben says he likes seeing us eat the food he made.  Genevieve says she likes being able to choose the menu.  It's really nice for me to get a break from cooking supper, and it's wonderful for them to be acquiring life skills. High fives all around!


e said...

Such great training for the rest of their lives! Not just the food preparation (although, that is significant) but the confidence. Their parents confidence in their ability to produce a meal. Or anything, really. That's very heartening to the kids' belief in themselves. I love that you do it!

Jennifer Jo said...

Your kids are getting so leggy and tall!

I'm not nearly as systematic/intentional as you are, but tonight my younger son is making pizzas for supper. Carrots and celery sticks, too. And at this very moment he's BEGGING me to let him make puddings but I'm making him wait until tomorrow since I don't want anyone to start another cooking project right now. Maybe we'll do egg custards?

AmyK said...

As a former Home Ec teacher, this warms my heart. I like your method of making yourself scarce when they are cooking too.

Anonymous said...

I spent years in 4-H helping young people learn to cook. You are helping your children form habits that will serve them well for the rest of their lives. Not only will they be able to feed themselves (and others), they will have an appreciation of the work involved when someone cooks for them. They will be able to gracefully (and gratefully) thank those who feed them and mean it.

On a related note - WOW - those youngsters are getting tall! It is suddenly very noticeable when they are standing next to the stove.

Enjoy your Saturday night catered meals.
Chris S in Canada

Margo said...

Chris S and Jennifer, they are indeed getting SO TALL. I had a blog reader tell me she missed seeing B & G on my blog, so I made a conscious effort to photograph them and include them :) Let me tell you, my clothing and food budgets show how tall they are getting!!

Becky said...

I love this. Mine showed more interest in cooking when she was younger - these days she's usually got plans on Saturday night, so I don't know we could do this on a regular basis, but I think I might try! I also would like to know more about Ben's Singapore Street Noodles please!

Margo said...

Becky, the recipe Ben used is this:

I've made it again since we enjoyed it so much, but tweaked it a bit (mostly simplifying). Perhaps I will blog it next time now that we eat supper in the light again!

BLD in MT said...

I'd like to add to the high-fives! That is awesome! Kudos to the whole family! (I didn't learn to cook until I met Matt and wish I'd learned decades before!)

Nancy In Boise said...

Good going! I taught my kids to cook, but that is much more independent gets them thinking. And they're so tall!