Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Cooking and Kids

I always enjoy it when my kids express interest in cooking. I love passing on the things I've learned about cooking and the kitchen to them. I think it may be part of the desire to "leave a legacy."

The actual act of cooking with them isn't always the most fun thing, though. At the very least it's instructional. I might be the only one learning something, but you never know.

At the best of times, the kids learn something about cooking. At the worst of times, they learn a few 'new words' from Daddy. Some of those words I have to repent for.

Actually, my kids have heard me swear enough times that I don't think I have any new words left. They know them all already. That doesn't mean it doesn't bother them. I still have to listen to the lecture from my oldest daughter about how I shouldn't swear, and how it makes her uncomfortable when I do. Normally I'd get upset with my children lecturing me. The problem is she's right, and we both know it. I've got a long way to go on that front.

Bad language aside, I think teaching kids to cook is important. I can think of very few life skills that are as important as learning how to get around in the kitchen. Not everyone needs to be a master chef but, knowing how to make a quick meal can come in mighty handy. It certainly helped me while I was dating (girls love a man who can cook) but, that's another story.

A few weeks ago my 12 year old daughter wanted to learn to cook a stir-fry. She was in charge of family home evening that week, and wanted to use chopsticks as part of an object lesson. Jumping at the chance to combine food with faith (or anything else for that matter), I heartily agreed to teach her.

First, I taught her my rice recipe, and then went on to talk about the principles behind stir-frying, as I see them. She's already pretty good with a knife so she prepped, or finished prepping, quite a few of the vegetables. She's still at the stage where she likes to eat meat, but doesn't want to touch it (It's gross, Dad!), so I prepped the chicken.

Unfortunately, I have a tough time teaching in the kitchen. I always end up doing more than I should while I'm demonstrating things. I think I ended up preparing and cooking the various ingredients a bit more than she did. In addition to my bad language, that's another thing I need to work on.

In spite of all that, I think she did a very good job. It was certainly tasty and her object lesson for Family Home Evening went over very well. Her basic premise was that it takes practice to use chopsticks. The more we use them, the better we get. She showed us that faith is the same way. We need to practice exercising our faith if we want it to grow stronger, and work more efficiently for us.

It's times like these that make cooking with my kids worth every bad word I struggle not to use.

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