In my post “What’s cooking”? I had spoken about the tantrums mothers face every day while feeding their little and not so little ones too. One suggestion I made was to let the kids decide on what they want to eat and help me cook I together sometimes too. Well, we took this forward and did cook a few meals together. Snacks like popcorn, chats , bhel muri ,pani puri topped the list along with dhokla’s and papdi chats. We also whisked some desserts, licked the creamy batters and poured jellies into cups to settle. Maggie , butter milk and some milkshakes also came handy on some weekends.
There were many lessons we learnt in these 7 months and today I want you to encourage your kids in the kitchen too. Why?
- Cooking teaches the most difficult lesson taught by life to us – Time management. When we poured the idly or dhokla batters in the moulds to steam I saw my kids pacing in and out of the kitchen carefully keeping up with the time. The cake took 20 minutes to bake while the jellies set in 10 minutes in the freezer. Patience I the key. We need to have patience else we ruin all our preparations.” Stop” shouted Sparsh, when he saw his sister de moulding a runny jelly mix.
- Cooking teaches us to cherish each experience in life. Sparsh had sticky hands while rolling the dough and Anaya had sauce all over her dress while assembling a sandwich. That’s OK I said. “Kuch daag acche hote hai” (some stains are good for us). Not only do they remind us of our experiences but also teaches us to be careful next time. Life is life this too. Not all days are happy, yet we live each single day learning and cherishing experiences.
- Cooking teaches to take pride and ownership of work. When I served them their self-made snacks they proclaimed it to me the yummiest. Why after all it was the fruits of their labour. Though it lacked some salt, but that did not matter to them at all. “mehenat ka phal meetha hota hai” announced Anaya with all pride.
- Cooking makes maths fun. Our cooking experiments came handy to me this month, Kids were taught measurements in their respective units this time and they understood the concept well due to our cake making episodes. Terms like table-spoon, tea-spoon, half cup, three fourth cups made sense to them in class and they proudly shared their knowledge with their peers in class.
5. Cooking helps in developing their motor and sensory skills too. The art of chopping and cutting and holding the knife correctly requires effort. The taste of various ingredients their texture, colour and smell improves sensory skills too. Rolling out dough in itself is quite a challenge for many.
6. Cooking teaches balance. Balance of ingredients, of textures, of taste and colour. Sometimes a little bit of salt adds enough spice and there are times when even a bowl full of sugar does not make the dish sweet. Cooking like any art require practice and dedication too.
7. Cooking is experimenting. Experimenting with ideas, flavours, techniques, ingredients and experiences. The same ingredients given to different people will result in different dishes. Cooking is a perspective. Every person relates cooking with something particular or unique to himself or herself. Cooking is about accepting others ideas and finding harmony in food. It’s like family, teaches to live in harmony.
8. Cooking is an engaging activity for kids. Ever seen a toddler playing with dough or a first grader trying to cut vegetables with a blunt knife. It helps in building concentration and is a mind exercise for kids.
9.Cooking is a stress buster for many. Speciality cooking and baking relieves stress and helps families bond. It’s a perfect way to unwind with kids and adults alike.
- Cooking is serving your feelings on a plate. Watch your mood when you cook today. when happy you cook happily treating the ingredients with care. on the other hand, when you sad in sadness the food is either bland or very spicy the vegetables are raw or not cooked through and the presentation is missing altogether.
- Cooking teaches us to be principled. The steps to be followed are in order, you cannot skip steps or mix ingredients just like that. I am sure you have watched MasterChef shows on TV, where each episode emphasis on reading the recipe to the T and following it thoroughly.
- Cooking requires us to be alert and safe at all times. We must adhere to all precautionary measure and safety rules while working in the kitchen. Use of proper kitchen equipment’s and tools is a must to avoid any mishap. Yes, mom, now I know why you wear gloves each time you take things out from the oven.
- Cooking is all about hygiene. “Yes tie up your hair completely is rule 1 says Sparsh “as he instructs his sister to do the same. Always wash ingredients before use teaches. And please do not forget to wash your hands too. Keeping the kitchen clean and mopping the bench after cooking is a must too. Stay clean, stay healthy says Sparsh again.
- Cooking makes you aware of what you eat. I noticed kids reading labels before using ingredients. This not only tells them what goes inside the product but also educates them about its nutritional value., thus making them more informed and knowledgeable. It encourages healthy and fresh eating too. Anaya even plucked some fresh mint for her lemonade from our kitchen garden.
- Science is another important element when cooking. Kids tend to understand the process of fermentation, boiling, evaporation, condensation and carbonation well. Thankfully it answers all their questions on why is the cake rising ? why is the curry yellow ? why is the water reducing from the pot? And many more why’s.
All set and done, what looks beautiful, tastes beautiful too. And when prepared with a beautiful mind, adds soul to the food served. Cooking and eating are holistic in nature and should be done and consumed with purity. Cooking is done with all 5 senses, and when it is done with awareness to the 5 senses it weaves magic. After all stomach is the way to a man’s heart.
Before I conclude please be present at all times in the kitchen to supervise your little one’s cook . Try fire less cooking when cooking with little one .You will find many recipes for cooking with kids on the internet, simply download and get going . Also please don’t forget to share your cooking stories with me .
Happiness and sunshine