Why is there a kid in my kitchen
Updated: Sep 14, 2020
There are many things that my daughter and I enjoy doing together; Playing, reading, singing, and dancing. But of all the things we do on a regular basis, she is always the most excited when it is our turn to cook dinner. Now when I say that my two and half-year-old daughter is helping me cook dinner I am guessing most of you are thinking something along the lines of boiling a pot of water and making mac and cheese. However, that is not what I am referring to. Our favorite dish to make together is chicken fried rice and she is involved in every step of the meal.
Gabriella first took an interest in helping me cook, around when she was 18 months old. She would push a chair over to the stove and climb up to watch me with whatever I was cooking. I started letting her stir and add premeasured quantities of ingredients shortly after that. We stuck with just that for several months but she kept wanting to get more involved. So after a little research on the topic, we bought a child-safe knife set off amazon and of course a kid's sized apron to go with it.
After ensuring that the knives were, in fact, child-safe (I put some effort into cutting myself, with one, only to come out with minor scratches), the two of us set off to practicing on easier to cut objects to get her used to the thought of using a knife and build her technique up a little bit. We cut up lettuce, tomatoes, celery, and even some playdough to get her used to angles and motion of the knife while working on keeping our fingers out of the way of the blade. Now I can trust her to cut up anything I need for dinner that doesn't need to be in consistently sized pieces (I still handle all the uncooked meats though). It definitely doesn't make food prep go any faster but watching her improve and grow has been incredible. She has gotten much better at stirring as well. Instead of just wildly moving the spoon around in the pot, she makes the circles that I have taught her, trying to keep the bottom moving to the top. That is until she loses focus after a few minutes (she is still very much so two).
We are only a year into her helping out in the kitchen and she has already improved so much. I can count on her for things during meal prep and while cooking that make it to where it feels like we are actually preparing the meal together not just her standing there watching. She is the cutest little assistant that I could ever ask for and I so excited to see the passion that I have for cooking grow in her. My mouth already waters at the thought of the first thing she cooks for me without my help. I bet it is mildly burned and overly seasoned, but I will eat every bite, and then we will work on making it better together.
Though no one has ever directly said anything negative to me, I have got a lot of funny looks when I tell people that I am teaching my two-year-old daughter to cook. When a child shows an interest in something, isn't it our job as parents to help that interest grow? No matter how old they are? If my daughter decides next week or next year that she doesn't want to help me cook anymore that is fine, I won't force her. But I get to enjoy this time we are spending together right now and that makes it worth it to me. I don't think Gabriella is going to grow up to be a chef (if that is what she really wants to be, then great) but I will not be the one that stamped out that possibility before it ever happens. Your child is never too young to take an interest in anything. You just have to help them take it on in steps they can handle. There is no age limit on learning.
I hope this post has found you in good health and of a sound mind. I am just another confused father from Kansas wondering...
How did I end up here?