Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Kids in the Kitchen

We all know that cooking with kids is a great idea, a fun thing to do, a great bonding experience. Even educational. It may also be your version of hell.

If you're considering getting into the kitchen with your small one, if the guilt has finally gotten to you, coming to terms with the following facts will save your sanity.

1. It'll be messy.

There's no getting away from this. There will be mess. Even the simplest of recipes will make a mess. Flour on the floor. Batter in your kids hair, or yours. Sauce in places it couldn't possibly be. Mentally prepare yourself for a lot of mess. It's all part of the fun. Sorta.

2. It won't be perfect.

If you're a perfectionist, maybe you should just take your kids to the park instead. Biscuits will be oddly shaped. The cake will rise wonky. Something will burn.

3. It will be slow.

Especially with really young kids. Little hands don't work as fast, aren't as strong. Also, they get distracted pretty easily.

4. Your kid will eat all the ingredients before you've made anything.

My daughter eats the flour. The mixture. Any kind of dough. All spices. Butter is eaten in chunks. They will spend most of their time "Tasting".

5. They will get bored.

It's very possible, that after a little while they'll just lose interest and you'll be up to your elbows in chocolate cake, or un-iced sugar cookies. This can be a blessing in disguise.

Still wanna cook with your kids? Then take my advice....Or not.

1. Time it right.

Mid-morning, on the weekend, when you've been sufficiently coffee'd or tea'd into consciousness. You'll be less rushed, and there'll be plenty of time to create and eat your masterpiece.

2. Set the scene.

Clear off as much space as possible. You'll need it. Everyone washes their hands. Everyone dons an apron. Grab a stool for the short people, or if your knees can take it, set up at the kids table. (Move it into the kitchen if that saves the carpet.)

3.Read the recipe.

Make sure you've read the recipe numerous times, especially if you haven't made it before. Kids in the kitchen are totally distracting and it's easy to miss a step!

4. Let your kids actually do stuff.

Measure out the flour. Crack an egg. Stir things. Show them how, but try not to take over. Jump in when they need a bit of muscle, or if you're using electric beaters.

5. Let them taste everything.

Yes, even the flour. It's a great time to get them actually thinking about flavours. Is it salty? Is it sweet? Spicy? Dry or wet? Slimy or smooth?

6. Let them lick the bowl.

Licking the bowl is one of life's pleasures. I know there's hoo-ha about raw eggs etc, but I've never keeled over from ingesting cake batter, have you?

6. Even Chefs clean.

If they haven't already done a runner once the cake is in the oven, get them involved in the clean up. They can rinse stuff off in the sink, wash their hands, put the aprons away. Or just kick them out and do it yourself... you'll be needing a cup of tea by now.

7. Congratulate them on a job well done.

Bang on to anyone who will listen about how the small fry made the scones. They will beam with pride and it will all be worth it.

8. Smile Smugly.

You've earned it. File the memory away for those days when you feel like a totally crap mum who does nothing but yell.

Or is that just me?

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