Tuesday, August 26, 2014

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Teaching My Tweens To Cook

This summer I began teaching my oldest three (11 year old boy and 10 year old boy / girl twins) how to cook using the stove. They've been using the microwave for two years now. However, the stove has been off limits until they were at least 10. Why 10 years old? That's when my mom started teaching me, so I felt as if it was a good age to start teaching them.

I've stuck with some basic meals such as quesadilla's, eggs, Ramen noodles, and grilled cheese. Before ever turning on the stove, I have them prepare everything, with me standing right by their side.

For instance, the following are the steps for making a grilled cheese sandwich

  1. Take out all the ingredients - bread, cheese and butter
  2. Find the appropriate pan and place it on the stove - skillet pan
  3. Get the appropriate utensil - spatula
  4. Prepare your meal - put the cheese in the middle of the bread. Then butter both halves of the bread.
  5. Put all of the containers and bags for the ingredients away
  6. Put the grilled cheese sandwich in the pan
  7. Turn on the stove - medium heat
  8. Flip after 2 minutes, using the spatula. Flip again if that side still needs more cooking.
  9. Once cooked, turn off the stove
  10. Using the spatula, place grilled cheese sandwich on a plate. Wait a few minutes for it to cool down before eating.
They are having so much fun learning how to prepare simple meals. However, I've also have stressed that safety is the most important piece.  As such, I have enforced certain rules:
  1. They are not allowed to turn on the stove unless I am home and aware of them cooking. 
  2. They have to clean up everything, including washing the pan.
  3. They are not allowed to wash the pan until at least 30 minutes after they have cooked their meal. I want to make sure they do not get burned.
  4. They also are not allowed to leave the kitchen until their meal is fully cooked, stove is off and everything is put away.
  5. They are not allowed to make any dish that requires pouring out hot water as of yet.
  6. They are not allowed to watch or have the television on or use any other electronic device while they are cooking. 
I'm enjoying teaching my kids how too cook.  They are nervous still. But eventually it will become a normal part of their routine. As their parent, I want to make sure they understand that cooking requires their full attention. Safety is one of the most important topics that a parent should teach while they also teach their child how to cook.

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