The answer is, of course they can. Many kids and younger siblings would die of starvation if they didn’t manage to learn basic survival skill #1: Getting something to eat. I remember one aspect that was mind-blowing during our visit to Cameroon was finding out that kids there get their own machetes at about age 4. Kids at 6 or 7 were care-giving for their siblings all day. So my sheltered 10 year old started looking _really_ sheltered. We decided to introduce real life skills like chopping food a little bit earlier than we had assumed after that, and yet it’s still hard for me to see them wielding chef’s knives. Ok, I admit it, I bought a campy little device that they use in one hand to make sure they don’t cut their fingers off! Here it is:
One of the things that really got our kids going was looking through my issues of The Food Network magazine because everything looks so good in there!
Up to this point we have spent more of our homeschooling efforts on other aspects like this one, a visual comparison of what 100 calories look like for different foods…
and learning about nutrition. What is fat, protein, carbs, and why does it matter? What are calories? What are vitamins and why do we need them? How do you shop for foods? How do you menu plan? Etc.
This year I decided we are going to really focus on actual cooking skills. One of the reasons is that I watched an episode of Rachel Ray’s Kids Cook-Off (interview with the winner here). It was amazing watching these kids chop veggies quicker than I do usually! (ok, I’ve cut myself too many times, so I just choose to chop slowly…but still) My kids are nowhere near winning their own cooking show, and I’m fine with that, but we need to get going on some of these skills.
For fun today, I made one of the contestant’s sandwich recipes for lunch. It’s a take on PB&J, only with fresh berries mixed with the jam, and adding in sliced bananas, candied pecans and chopped bacon. We used fresh raspberries mixed with blackberry jam and no Chipotle. I had my 10 yo help by candying the pecans and slicing the bananas, then helping me assemble the sandwiches. It was fun! The sandwich itself got mixed reviews, most of the fam said it was a bit over the top, but it tasted good and it was a fun change up for us. The Food Network put this recipe up online from the show if you want to see it there. This is ours in mid assembly:
One of the joys of parenting is seeing your childrens’ gifts come out and flourish. I’m sure the parents of the kids on that show were mighty proud. I’m not expecting anything like that out of my kids, but I am looking forward to seeing what fun adventurous ideas they come up with in the kitchen!