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Getting Your Children to Cook

boys cooking

I’ve spent quite a bit of time lately on Facebook and Twitter talking about the various aspects of my home.  This includes tidbits ranging from chickens to children and everything in between.  I’ll start with children, and my two favorite subjects in the entire world –my sons.

Last night the boys and I had breakfast for dinner.  Each of us made our own omelet.  Eggs are a great place to start when it comes to cooking with children.

I’ve had the boys in the kitchen since they were babies and put them to work at an early age.  My older son used to use his pudgy little 2 year old fingers to pick tiny leaves off thyme stems for me; my younger son has been cracking eggs since he was 3.

Each of the boys has their own special knife which they use for chopping, and I have spent quite a bit of time with each one showing them how to properly hold and use a knife –knife safety is of utmost importance for both children and adults.

child chopping kale

Last night my younger son made an omelet with onions, kale and cheddar cheese, while my older son opted to make a “sweet” omelet.  It is so much fun to watch the boys cook and move around the kitchens with them.  After all these years they are kinda pros!

In addition to enjoying spending time with them doing something I love, it is wonderful to watch them take so much pride in their cooking.  They concentrate, are careful and manage to have fun in the process.

Many of my above thoughts about cooking with children are due to a recent interview I had with a lovely site called cafemom.com.  I am very happy to be the subject of the site’s “In the Kitchen With…” feature.  If you have a moment hop on over and take a look.  There are quite a few pictures of my kitchen and garden.


posted on July 30, 2009

  1. Emily

    What a nice article!! I loved learning more about you and the photos were fun. I can’t wait for the day I have children of my own and get to teach them all about healthy cooking. In the meantime, can I borrow your boys? They sound like great chefs!

  2. This is great!! My husband can’t (won’t) cook a lick as no one ever taught him. If we have kids I will have them in the kitchen with me from birth (probably wrapped on my back) and they will leave my home with at least some basic skills, no matter the gender! It’s great to see your boys in the kitchen, especially making more than just Easy Mac. :-P

  3. I learned to cook at a very early age. I come from a family of excellent cooks so it was probably par for the course. Also when I was 10 my mother decided it was appropriate for me to make dinner for the family one night a week. This was the only “chore” I did not dislike, and think all children should have to do this. I always pity my friends who never learned how to cook.

  4. Hannah (Hannah\'s Harvest) @ hannahs-harvest.blogspot.com

    It is my passion to get kids cooking. I’m going to be teaching my first kids’ cooking class soon and I can’t wait! The future is theirs…thanks Elana, I’ll go read that article now.

    Hannah

  5. Shawna Huggins

    Dear Elana, I just received your book The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook. Oh my gosh – I am so excited – it is easy, it is fun, it is going to make all those in my household happy happy happy! You have done an excellent job and we thank you! Shawna and family.

  6. Mia

    Elana, I can’t wait to open up your articles everyday! That’s saying a lot because most emails are not as exciting :).
    I also have to tell you something comical. At first I thought your photo at the top right was a stock photo of some beautiful lady. And not too long after I discovered it was actually YOU….LOL
    So I wanted to share my musings with you. Maybe it will make your day!
    I look forward to the next…
    XO

  7. I love that your boys know to cook so well, at such an early age! I recently made a decision to be sure to include our kids in cooking every weekend they are with us, so that they can grow up learning to prepare more than frozen dinners and boxed macaroni. So far, they love it!

  8. That article was really sweet; I think it’s great that you have learned your sons how to cook.

    I loved the chicken photos. How I wish that I could keep my own chickens, maybe someday :)

  9. Taryn

    What a wonderful article.
    Well done!

    I think your sons have better knife skills than I do… I better work on that.

    I really admire how you are raising your two boys! If I ever have children I hope they are even half as eager and talented as your two boys are in the kitchen.

  10. Sarah Schatz - menu planners for people with limited diets @ heartofcooking.com

    I love that you wrote about your sons cooking with you. My son is just 19 months but already loves helping me cook because he has been the kitchen since he was a newborn.

    He says, “cook, cook” or lately “cookie” when he wants to cook. Sometimes he goes into the kitchen and says this, and I ask him if he wants to cook and he exclaims, “yeah!”

    I think getting kids involved is a great way to get over picky eating. I think kids enjoy their food much more if they have taken part in making it! And it teaches them so much too.

    Sarah

  11. Loved the writeup! I keep putting off chickens because we have so much wildlife near us and I’m so busy, but maybe soon! A friend feeds her chickens yogurt!

  12. gfe-gluten free easily @ glutenfreeeasily.com

    Lovely post and article, Elana! It was so nice to read so much about you and your family. Even though I’ve been reading here all the time and have been for a long time, I learned some new things about you and your approach. :-)

    One of the hardest things being a support group leader is trying to help new members who have never cooked before. Their first inclination is to go out and buy all processed ready-to-eat gf foods, which obviously won’t heal them or have them feeling much better than they were before. If these folks had been involved in the kitchen cooking from a young age, cooking real food, the transition to gluten free would be so much easier. But, I am proud to say that some of these folks are seeing the simple, wonderful gf dishes that can be made and are making the transition. Since we start each meeting with a shared meal and most everyone in our group shares the same approach, they are slowly getting how easy it is to cook and eat gluten free.

    Thanks for all you do on spreading the word and sharing your wonderful healthy recipes daily, Elana!

    Shirley

  13. Rosie

    Wow, I really love what you wrote here about cooking with your two boys. Cooking/baking in the kitchen (and doing it with organic products) is one of my fave things to do with my kids also. Our next “baking date” will involve GF cupcakes. BTW, I get some of my best tips and recipes from Tina Turbin’s http://www.glutenfreehelp.info – in fact you two have a lot in common!

  14. ~M

    What a great article! My husband gives me credit for teaching him how to cook (and I give him credit for teaching me to be a computer-nerd, lol). I’m also slowly teaching my 21 year old brother how to cook healthy meals for himself; his salmon in parchment is the only salmon that our (picky) dad will eat! :)

    I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind sharing what kind of cutting boards you recommend? The one in the photo looks like bamboo, but what brand? Also, how do you clean and care for them? My flexible plastic cutting boards are biting the dust and I don’t want to replace them with more plastic. Thanks, Elana!

  15. Shelby Salinas @ thekidscookmonday.org

    Hi Elana—

    How great that you’ve been getting your boys involved
    in the kitchen since such an early age! Cooking with
    your kids is such a fun way to teach your little ones
    about vitamins, nutrients and what actually goes into
    the food they eat.

    That’s why I work for The Kids Cook Monday, a
    campaign that encourages families to set aside the first
    night of every week for cooking and eating together as a
    family. (http://www.thekidscookmonday.org)

    I’d be interested in having a call to discuss getting our
    similar messages out there to other families. Your
    gluten-free recipes could also come in handy to a lot of
    the participating Kids Cook Monday families.

    Would you be interested in having a call to discuss ways
    we could work together? If so, shoot me an email at
    TheKidsCookMonday@gmail.com and we can find a
    good day and time.

    Thanks
    Shelby

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