I grew up in a household with 4 boys and 5 girls. Us girls shared a room and the boys shared a room. We had one shower, two bathrooms, and a very tiny kitchen. To get an idea of just how tiny, imagine an apartment kitchen, and I don’t mean a luxury apartment. It was small. Some may say that a lifestyle of that sort would be awful, but honestly, it was awesome. We all were very close, and because of that, we still, to this day, are all extremely close. We were all home-schooled, so there were things that we didn’t experience like other kids. We didn’t know what it was like to have to get up at 6:00am every morning and be out the door for school by 6:45am. We didn’t know what it was like to have school dances, fundraisers, or junior high boyfriends. What we DID learn, was how to live practically, and one of those practical life lessons we learned was how to cook.
From the time we were about 5, we were in the kitchen helping mom prepare meals. We learned how to make anything from a basic egg and bacon breakfast, to a full lasagna dinner with salad and garlic bread. We weren’t exactly TAUGHT to cook, we learned from doing. But learning how to make the food is not the important part. Yes, it is really great that I know what a rue is and how to make soup thicker or thinner, and it’s good to know the difference between baking powder and baking soda and know what each thing does, but that’s not my point here. The important things we learned from cooking are far greater than simply how to make food.
From cooking, my siblings and I learned patience. A good baker knows that in order to get really soft bread, you have to knead it, then let it rest for many hours. Then, once it’s done, it has to bake. It’s a process that can’t be rushed whether you like it or not. We learned that good things are worth waiting for. When you make chili, it’s best if you let it sit and simmer for a while. That’s when it gets it’s heartiness and deep, rich flavors. We learned not to be afraid to try something new. My parents would bring something home, or make something, new for us to try about once a week. We didn’t have to like it, but we had to at least try it. It opened the door for us to have a broadened pallet as adults. Another thing we learned was to be experimental and not to be afraid to try. We would make changes to recipes, not knowing how they would turn out, and if it messed up, we weren’t afraid to try again. The last thing I will mention that we took away from the cooking experience was how to make the best of what we had. There were days where we weren’t sure what we were going to eat for dinner, or if we were even going to have dinner, but we never went without. We learned how to put a bunch of random things together, that you would never put together normally, and make it taste great! We can all thank my momma for that 🙂
So, there you have it. Here is a very short list of a few of the many reasons that you should start now and involve your children in your kitchen experience. If they don’t learn any valuable life lessons, at least they will know how to cook for themselves (and hopefully others).
Happy cooking y’all 🙂