Sunday, January 15, 2012

Kids in the Kitchen--Harper's First Baking Experience

My girls are 9 and 2, and I love to have them in the kitchen with me when I'm making a recipe they can help with--no chopping vegetables, or pizza cutting yet, but there are lots of things kids can do in the kitchen, even from a very young age. 
A little background on me:  My mother never took the time to teach me how to cook, and once I got married, my husband had an idea that no one would ever be able to feed him like his mother did (has this happened to you?).  I do have a stubborn streak, so this was exactly the motivation I needed--plus, we had to eat something!
How do you start when your background consisted of frozen food and takeout?  I scoured magazines and cookbooks from the library for a few years, and managed to make some things that made it on the "I'll eat this again" list.  There was also the "great fish tragedy" which we'll just leave in the past.  I researched home cooking on the web and stumbled upon (yes, this is the second post mentioning this site, and no, they don't pay me for it!).  One thing I could do was follow a recipe, and slowly, I began to build my cooking repertoire.  Now, I love cooking for family & friends, have complete confidence in the kitchen, and plan menus just for fun in my head.
That was a long-winded way to say that I believe it is important to have kids in the kitchen from a very young age.  My oldest daughter was 2 when she began helping me, and now my youngest daughter is following in the same tradition.  They are in the picture above--and they are precious!

Our Cookie Project

Harper recently helped me bake Lemon Leaves, delightfully crunchy little cookies.  I mixed the dough and after it chilled and was rolled out, the fun began.  I put Harper on a stepladder (she's tiny) and showed her what to do.  She seemed so excited to have a project!  She was able to carefully dip her cutter into flour, and then pressed it into the dough.  She would then hand me the cookies to be placed on the cookie sheet, ready to be baked.  Or, as she put it, "HOT!!"

Focused Determination
She was so proud!
I left the lemon pistachio topping off of half the batch since it isn't kid-friendly. Harper was definitely more interested in eating these, and I believe it was due to the fact that she helped make them. If you notice in the picture below she still has flour on her little elbow. She's normally an extremely picky eater, but with this being such a success, maybe we'll tackle roasted veggies next!

(I know they were cookies!).

She approved of the finished product
How did you learn to cook, and what have your kids learned from you so far?

1 comment:

  1. My mom was a fabulous cook too, but like yours, she never taught me how to cook. I learned out of sheer determination. Plus, I read cookbooks like novels! Love 'em. And now I love I can read it for hours at night while my husband watches tv. I determined to teach my children, a girl and a boy, how to cook, and both were able to cook and survive, especially when they went to college. Like me, my daughter makes out weekly menus. We sometimes trade ideas for dinner menus. And my son helps his wife in the kitchen. He can feed his family as well as his wife can. In fact, they take turns in the kitchen preparing meals. My daddy was totally helpless in the kitchen, so I am thrilled my son can find his way around a stove, oven, and grill.


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