Last night we came home from the Dally In The Alley (a music and art festival in Detroit) and decided it would be a great night to make a from-scratch pizza. Instead of having my 8-year-old daughter, Chloe, sitting around killing time on her Ipad I told her to put my apron on and get busy in the kitchen with me. Making a pizza like this is quite the task and I figured this would be a wonderful opportunity to teach my daughter a variety of useful things in the kitchen. Today I will be talking about a few good reasons why it is of utmost importance to get your child busy in the kitchen as well. I think it is essential to teach children how to cook so they know these skills later in life.
I remember when I was a young girl like Chloe. My mother attempted to get me interested in cooking and I had zero interest in it and did not want to participate in it. My mom was trying to teach me some valuable life lessons at the time but I guess I just chose to ignore it and did not think of it as being important at the time. Even when I was a teenager I didn’t want anything to do with it.
What I did not realize was that I was not allowing myself to learn one of life’s most important lessons.
My only real memory of “cooking” that I have is when I used to go over to my grandmother’s house and she would have my sister and I help with making instant pistachio pudding. The extent of my cooking skills from doing this was just learning how to operate an old-fashioned, manual hand mixer and a soft spatula.
So what was I to do when I moved out of my mother’s house and lived on my own for the first time? I think I did what most college students do… live off ramen noodles, spaghetti marinara, Velveeta Shells & Cheese, and frozen dinners! I really would love for my daughter to have better than that when she decides to go on to college and move out and be on her own. I have ten more years, at least, to teach her things that she needs to know about preparing herself a healthy and nutritious meal.Â
Why is it important to teach our children how to cook?
Healthy choices lead to a healthy life
First things first!
We want our children to make healthy, good choices when it comes to food.
Going through the McDonald’s drive-thru may be the easy way to get food in your stomach but is it a wise choice to do so? Absolutely not. I’m not saying you should never eat there but it really should only be reserved for a once-in-a-while trip. If my daughter wants to eat a cheeseburger I would rather have her know how to prepare her own at home with some fresh ingredients. I have not yet taught her how to make to a burger but I certainly will be teaching her in the near future because a cheeseburger ranks pretty high on her list of favorite foods to eat.
I often compare my body to a car. Cars need fuel to run and go places. Our bodies need fuel as well. Nobody wants to put watered down crappy fuel in their cars, right? So why would you want to put bad fuel into your body? We think and feel this way about our automobiles but isn’t our body more important than a vehicle? Our body is a vessel and it sustains life. If you want it to work properly you need to know the best way to feed it.
Variety is the spice of life
Another thing that cooking teaches our children is how to enjoy food and eat with an open mind. We shouldn’t allow our children to survive on a diet full of chicken nuggets so it is best to expose them early to a wider variety of foods that are out there. The earlier, the better! From the beginning with my daughter, I have been allowing her to experience a vast array of foods. I think this contributes greatly to the fact that I do not have a picky eater on my hands. Chloe will try almost anything once. For an 8-year-old kid, she has a pretty awesome palate. In her short period of life, she has tried so many things that took me 37 years of my life to try!
How to apply mathematical knowledge
Cooking also teaches your child a lot about mathematics. While we were preparing the pizza Chloe was learning about measurements and fractions. We went through a lot of measuring cups and measuring spoons during our meal prep and this is the knowledge that will be useful for an entire lifetime.
All about timing
Timing is everything when it comes to cooking, and especially baking. Having your child in the kitchen as your sidekick also gives them a valuable lesson in learning about time.
Safety skills! Oh yes, safety skills. One, we do not want anyone burning down the house. It is always a great idea to show your child how to use a fire extinguisher and also know how to use a phone to dial 911 in case of emergency. Two, we certainly do not want anyone coming down with a bad case of food poisoning. We had to cook up some ground Italian sausage with this pizza and we also had to deal with cracking a couple of eggs. I did relay the info to my daughter about the importance of food safety and handwashing your hands several times when dealing with certain foods.
How to apply problem-solving skills
Let’s face it, we are all bound to run into problems in the kitchen. Even the top chefs in the world run into problems. We all need to be quick to think and to figure out a way to resolve these problems when they arise. I can not think of a better place to learn these skills than the kitchen.
And here is my favorite thing about teaching my daughter to cook… the bonding time we experience together. Your child will remember these moments when they are alongside you in the kitchen. Cooking meals together bring you closer together with your child. I really enjoy connecting with Chloe in the kitchen. Together we smile and we laugh. My husband has the Nintendo video-gaming to bond with Chloe and I have the cooking and baking time to bond with Chloe. I will cherish these moments forever that I have with my daughter and I can only hope that she is on the same page and feels the same way.
So how did that pizza turn out?
Doing this together really was an awesome experience for the both of us. Making a pizza from scratch is a long and lengthy effort but it is so worth the time invested.
I had a paleo pizza crust from Thrive Market to try and this was my first time working with it. This crust is gluten-free and made with both almond and coconut flour. I busted out my rolling pin to roll this dough out and I really did not roll it out flat enough. While the pizza was delish, the crust really turned out a bit too thick.
Chloe really wanted to be the person in charge of the pizza sauce and I think she did a fabulous job. I like to make a garlicky, zesty sauce and she assisted. I believe that sauce can either make or break a pizza so I make sure we nail the sauce before going any further with the pizza. The sauce has to be seasoned to perfection.
You can see our finished product in the images below. Nom nom nom! It sure was tasty!
How old are your children and how do they help out in the kitchen? Leave me a comment and let me know. Let’s talk about it!
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