As promised in one of my prior blogs about Back To School Must Do Items I am reporting live from our kitchen on how the children’s cooking nights are going at our house.
I was very skeptical and nervous about rocking the routine at our house and implementing this new idea. For those of you just joining us: The idea is for each of your children to pick a night that is their night to cook for the family. They have to find the recipes they want to make, check for ingredients on hand and write the items not found on the weekly grocery list. Then on their night to cook they get to either have some help from me to learn to cook, or they can tackle the recipes on their own if they are confident.
My reluctance to this new routine comes first, from me being a really good cook . Second, I was anxious of the chaos that would occur such as missing ingredients and messes in the kitchen. Third, I was really fearful there would be tantrums when the kids couldn’t go and play or watch TV and fourth, I was really apprehensive some of the dishes would not be tasty. All of my fears regarding this new routine have been calmed!
My youngest, who is 5, loves to cook the same thing every week. His night got moved from Wednesdays to Thursdays because it turned out we always had other plans on Wednesdays so he didn’t get to cook the first two weeks. Also, Wednesdays are early release days for our schools so it gives us the opportunity to go and visit with grandparents, do some fun out door things as a family, or just hang out at home and warm up leftovers. Wednesdays at our house are known as “early chill nights.”
My middle child is 8 and has surprised me by wanting to cook some very difficult meals. Her chosen night to cook is Tuesday nights. Her first recipe choice was my Grandma’s Turkey Curry Recipe which involves a lot of planning ahead and slicing and dicing. She did great. Her next choice was a “Lazy Day Lasagna” from the Child’s Cook Book called Betty Crocker Kids Cook! That night she also cooked a cookie pizza from the same cook book which was a fun thing and everyone liked it. The Lasagna has become a family favorite and was a recipe I never would have tried because it looked to simple and bland. I was so wrong!
My oldest child is 15 and has rocked at this new cooking routine. He has always loved to help out in the kitchen but has really come into his own with this new assignment. His chosen night to cook is Fridays. I confess I thought that would NEVER work because he would have plans or want to come home and chill out. I was SO wrong again. He has embraced this new calling. The first Friday night he read the recipe and then started planning. His planning ahead was good but surprised me. The recipe steps didn’t say to boil the pasta first but because he read the whole recipe from beginning to end he figured it out. I will tell you that Friday nights are always a reason for me to enjoy a nice glass of wine but he loves to cook pasta dishes and needs no help from me so I get to read or hang out until dinner is served while really savoring some extra time and a bit of wine! His favorite recipes to cook so far come from a tear out advertisement from a magazine for Philadelphia Cooking Creme. You can find their recipes at cookphilly.com. So far our favorite recipe for young and old has been the Chicken Bruschetta Pasta.
I have to say I have loved spending one on one time with my kids in the kitchen. It has given me an excuse to really connect with my daughter on a personal level. It has been heartwarming to see all three of them learn to plan ahead. The pride in their eyes when they cook for the family is irreplaceable. All in all I call this new routine a success. I am sure we will trip up here and there but so far this is one routine I wish we would have implemented much earlier. Give it a try and let me know how it works for your family!
About Author Juliet Carr
Juliet Carr is a spunky irreverent sorta girl whose soul found its home on the Western Slope of the Colorado Mountains. Juliet is madly and deeply head over heels in love with her husband and children, ages 15, 8, and 4. She finds that being mom to kids who are each at such different stages of childhood is really interesting, and she loves watching her three children grow into the people they are meant to be. She is an author and founder of a non-profit organization and serves on a local and state board of directors whose focus is suicide prevention. This mama wears her heart on her sleeve and speaks her truth from her heart.