Kids ruin everything, don’t they? Before they started being interesting and wanting to get involved in everything I do, cooking and baking were soothing activities. Chopping vegetables and measuring flour were flow activities.
Now I have to do it with kids pulling up chairs to the counter and pulling out ingredients on the floor as I try to walk around. I trip on them. They cry. I burn stuff as I comfort them. I resent my ineffective use of birth control.
But then, I remember that a) I am an “adult” and b) I love my kids. So I include them in the action. They help me stir, measure, pour, gather ingredients, set the table, taste, and even chop stuff.
Kids in the kitchen, around knives and heat, can be scary. But I can’t protect them forever, right? I have explained to Summer that if she uses a stove or an oven, she is going to burn herself. If she uses a knife, she is going to cut herself. She has burned herself, she has cut herself, and she still loves cooking.
Henry gets in on the action too. He is 22 months, and he:
- · Cracks eggs
- · Stirs
- · Pours after I measure
- · Gathers ingredients
- · Makes toast
- · Brushes pastries with an egg wash
- · Creams butter and sugar with a hand mixer with my help
Summer, who will be five next month, does all that plus:
- · Separates eggs
- · Pours pancake batter
- · Flips pancakes
- · Cracks eggs into a pan
- · Flips eggs
- · Measures
- · Cuts apples and potatoes
- · Creams butter and sugar with a hand mixer by herself
- · Whip egg whites
- · Folds egg whites
Really, once I get into it, I enjoy it. Soon Summer, and eventually Henry, will be able to cook by themselves. And perhaps my absolute favorite memories growing up were cooking with my dad. So memory making, building self-reliance, having a fun time with kids? Yeah, it’s worth the hassle.