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The B4FD Project features blog posts from guest writers that explore the far-reaching benefits of family dinner.

Family Dinner Month 2012: Sept 17 -- Oct 29, 2012

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In a Busy Kitchen With a Budding Chef

by Jennifer Cordova

Getting my son in the kitchen is important to me for so many reasons. My goal is always to find at least one time a week that he and I can get together to cook something from start to finish. In theory, once a week sounds easy to achieve, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out! Life often gets so busy that it’s difficult to incorporate little budding chefs into our kitchen routine.

How can you include your child in the meal preparations even as you rush to pull it all together? Here are three ways to encourage your child’s interest in the kitchen even during those hectic periods:

  • Look at the recipe you’re using to see if there are small tasks your child can take part in. Measuring ingredients, adding a sprinkle of salt and pepper, pulling parsley leaves for you to chop later – these are all small yet important tasks that allow children to contribute.
  • Encourage your child to experience the food as it’s being made by smelling herbs, spices and other aromatic foods and tasting little tidbits here and there. Talk about these ingredients – how they look, smell, and taste; where they come from and how they grow; other dishes they can be found in, etc.
  • Explain what you’re doing as you’re doing it – take a tip from television cooking shows and give a little performance as you cook! This doesn’t mean you have to get flamboyant, just talk through the steps you’re taking, make connections between the dish you’re cooking now and others you’ve made, describe other dishes common to this particular cuisine. Remember to encourage interaction by asking questions of your own!

Finding ways to include your child even amidst all the busy-ness can serve to calm the hectic rush, and creates extra opportunities for quality interaction that otherwise would not occur.

Jennifer is a passionate cook and health enthusiast who spends her days thinking up new, wonderful ways to provide her husband and three children with delicious, nourishing food! At her blog, How to Peel an Onion, she shares straightforward recipes, health and nutrition information, and how-to tips and advice for creating a family table.

1 comment to In a Busy Kitchen With a Budding Chef

  • I agree and at age 10 I am seeing the benefits pay off as my kids can now make their own simple breakfasts and lunches! These are skills that they will take with them the rest of their lives!