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First Steps to Cooking

by Colleen P Moyne (Colmo) (follow)
I'm a freelance writer living in the beautiful river town of Mannum in SA, dreaming of the day I can retire from the 9-5 to write full time.
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Cooking with Children
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Cooking is a skill that we all need to learn and for young children it can be a fun activity as well. It’s not always easy to find a dish that young children can confidently create on their own. Letting them measure or stir is great, but the more of the process they can be involved in, the better understanding they will have and the greater their sense of accomplishment.

There are a number of things that even a young child can make, many of which require no cooking, so you can rule out the worry of them using a stove.



Cooking with Children
Image courtesy of flikr

The key to making it pleasurable is to start simple and slowly increase their involvement over time.

Here are some hints that will make the first cooking experience as easy as possible for both of you:

- Start with a clear work area and a clean sink.

- Allow plenty of time
.
- Wash hands, roll up sleeves and put on an apron or something that can handle a few splashes and stains.

- Don’t leave them alone, especially with sharp utensils or hot stoves.

- Keep the recipe as simple as possible and suitable to their age.

- Don’t force them to stay. Children have short attention spans and may lose interest. Let them go.

- For a first-timer, pre-measure the ingredients and have them lined up in order.

- Use a larger bowl than necessary to avoid a spill-over when stirring.

- If the recipe requires eggs, let them practice breaking an egg into a cup first.



Children Cooking
Image by Colmo

Here are a couple of ideas for first-time cooks:

Non-cook:

- Play dough
- Slime
- Smoothies
- Simple salads/Fruit salad
- Trail mix
- Marzipan sweets

Easy preparation / minimal cooking:

- Jelly
- Popcorn
- Honey Joys
- Rice bubble squares
- Scrambled eggs
- Pancakes
- Mini Quiches
- Pizza toast
- Simple cookies



Cooking with Children
Image by Colmo

The most important thing we can do is to make the experience fun. I’m sure that our first attempts at cooking were not perfect but with practice we improved. With a little patience and a lot of wet-wipes, we can survive the ordeal and your child will gain a sense of accomplishment and a love of cooking that will hopefully stay with them for life.


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