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Does your child ever make dinner for your family? At what age do you recommend they start? And what types of food can they prepare? I have a 6 year old who loves cooking class at school (where he cuts things with a knife, uses a stove, etc.)- but I've never had him cook, cut or prepare anything at home. I have a vision of designating one night a week as ''Kids Cook Night'' (none to little grown-up involvement) but I'm not sure he's old enough. We don't have a microwave which might complicate things. I'd love to hear from anyone who has tried this. Kids cookbook recommendations would also be helpful. Thank you. anon
How about having your son help you cook dinner at home. That way you can get a sense of what he can do, and teach him a few new things. Do some easy things together and then over time he can probably do more and more of it himself.
I love cooking with my kids - it's one of the special things we do together and it makes meal times more of an activity and less of a chore. It is one of the special memories I have of my Dad growing up - always hanging out in the kitchen and helping.
Don't have a kids cookbook in mind, but you son can probably do simple meals - warming up soup (supervised) and making sandwiches. Or maybe putting all the toppings on a premade pizza crust and you put it in the oven. Cook with kids
We've had more problems getting our 11 year old, who'd rather not cook, and is perfectly happy telling us he'll make us Top Ramen, interested in preparing meals. Sometimes we'll do Iron Chef evenings with each kid trying out his recipe and the judges being very lenient (all efforts are commended with positive comments that apply to the individual chef...) It always ends up in a tie...
Good luck and happy eating, Anon, hoping my kids end up learning how to prepare meals as I'm married to a guy who likes to cook and I feel so lucky... anon
You might want to build on the lessons he's getting at school with some simple things from you, but more technique-oriented rather than preparing a whole dish or a whole meal, like how to tell when pasta is cooked enough. If you aren't that into cooking yourself, there are certain to be a number of classes for kids around the Bay area and he probably would enjoy the camraderie -- although the age minimum is going to vary.
As a longtime food writer, my advice for the best thing to incorporate into his enthusiasm is how to shop! Take him with you to the store and show him how to pick out a good tomato or bunch of bananas. At supermarkets where they have an actual person at the fish counter, ask for an explanation of how to pick out a piece of fish and what way woud be best to cook it, etc.
It's a fantastic opportunity to slip in little lessons about how to choose healthy foods and make other buying decisions.
My parents started teaching me how to cook at 6, like your son -- easy stuff like making macaroni salad or dipping chicken cutlets into flour, egg, salt -- and it was a lot of fun. With any luck, he'll be making dinner for you from time to time. Of course, you may be eating pancakes and cucumbers the first few times.... Better in the kitchen than in front of the TV
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