Food Talk And Fabulous Finds - How do you making cooking fun?
05-07-2009, 12:09 PM
I used to love being in the kitchen and trying new recipes in cooing and baking. I have 3 kids now and it has become the biggest chore. I don't enjoy being in the kitchen anymore but now I'm finally, starting to eat right and I want to pass these skill and new tastes to my kids.
I've tried getting them to help in the kitchen but it just turns into a scream fest because the two oldest just fight over who does what. It's exhausting. My oldest son actually helped me come up with a week long meal plan, after I'd been humming and hawing about it for months and I mention it one day at lunch this week and he went and started a menu for me. He's 7 and he loved doing it and I want to keep this on a roll.
Anyone have any suggestions on how to make this fun again!!
Perhaps to keep the kids from fighting you can teach them that cooking with you is like a treat, an honor, and the only way that they're allowed to cook with you is if there's no fighting! Make your cooking times structured, you can even make a list ahead of time of who gets to do what and they're not allowed to stray from that list. Make it clear that the list will rotate so if one kid wants to do the measuring but the other is on the list for measuring then the 1st will just have to wait until the next meal. If they don't follow the rules then they don't get to cook. As long as they see cooking with you as a treat that they get to do they'll want to try to follow the rules so they aren't kicked out of the kitchen!
As far as keeping your son on a roll planning menus tell him what a good job he's doing, kids eat that up! When somebody at the dinner table mentions they liked a meal make sure to give him credit for planning it.
05-07-2009, 12:36 PM
How about all of you plan the menu together, then one day one child helps you and the next day another one does? If they kick and scream tell them no one will be allowed to do anything so they have to learn to compromise- that might make them stop lol.
And that way each day one child gets to cook with you (let them cook the ideas they helped with if possible) and everyone is happy.
You could do fun things like make mini pizzas and each kid gets to make their own pizza so no fuss :)
I get my sister to help me cook so when she finally moves out on her own cooking will be much easier for her- it's great you are introducing your kids to cooking! My mother never let us kids in the kitchen so I didn't learn to cook until I went to college!
05-07-2009, 01:46 PM
Thanks for the great ideas! I will try that out tonight! And then plan the rest of the week with them after dinner.
05-07-2009, 02:27 PM
I hear you with the bickering, especially if your oldest is 7 and there are two more younger ones! I *much* prefer cooking with one child at a time. My oldest (10) doesn't really seem to enjoy it but my younger (7) definitely does.
One thing that I am doing with my older son is making him more responsible for getting his own food on the weekends. Making sandwiches, getting his own cereal & milk, opening cans, etc. I want to start getting him to use the stove or skillet, making eggs, grilled cheese, etc.
I also want my kids to have a life-long desire for home cooking; we don't eat a lot of prepared meals or fast food. As for passing the new tastes on to your children - you didn't mention whether you make separate meals for them. If you do, I'd just stop doing that and give them the choice of eating whatever it is you made for dinner, or waiting for the next meal time to come around to have something else. Always make sure you have something on the side that you know they will eat, like rice, bread, apple sauce, what have you. Over the years, I've gotten worked my kids up to eating pretty big salads, so we almost always have a salad on the side. That way, if they don't like the main meal, at least I know they've had salad and bread, and that will hold them over to the next meal.
I also don't like to force them to finish their food. If they say they don't like something or that they can't eat any more, I just wrap it up, put it in the refrigerator, and bring it out again when they say later (before the next meal) that they are hungry. That has broken the routine of not eating dinner, but then looking for a snack a half hour later. "Oh, sweetie. Are you hungry again? Here, let me get out the sandwich that you didn't finish at lunchtime."
05-07-2009, 06:28 PM
Thanks. I don't cook seperate meals and I don't make them finish if they say they are full. But if it's something new they have to try at least 3 bites. If we are having a treat/dessert after they have to make sure they eat their meat and veggies at least.
I took don't mind if there is only one helping me then usually they all want in, even the 2 year old now. My middle child is 4 and they are all boys. They love their fruits and veggies and are known to actually eat salad so that is good, well except the 2 year old he's just starting to like the taste of some veggies. They are all starting to get into cooking, the two oldest will get their breakfast, cereal, yogurt and fruit or toast (7yo) and Kale has to pack his own lunch for the days he stays for lunch and he does a pretty good job of it. I'm trying to eliminate some of the processed quick stuff we buy like granola bars, nutrigrain bars and that kind of thing and trying to push the fruits and veggies and dairy more for snacks.
It's been harder since my oldest had food allergies from the get go and they all had milk intolerances until age 2. We can not have peanuts or nuts in the house and Kale is allergic to tomatoes as well but it's very minimal but he won't touch them regardless. I'm just wanting to enjoy cooking again and it's hard when everything is rushed, I work full time and keeping up with the house with 5 people living here is hard sometimes but Hubby helps out a lot when he's not working a lot.
Thanks for the tips.
05-07-2009, 07:06 PM
I found that kids like having "specialties"- like "x" is the egg cracker, and "y" is the king of the whisk. I also used phrases like "Joey I am making "x" and I really need you to taste it, is there enough salt, more lime?" or "Sam- you are the best parsley picker can you run and and grab me a handful? etc." My 18 year old still thinks he has to approve the salsa before it is considered done. I guess I am saying that if it is less a chore and more that their skills and input are valuable it becomes more fun. Good luck, sounds like you are doing great!