Cooking is not my strong suit. However, it is a vital life skill everyone needs to learn. And thankfully, my husband is an amazing cook. So between the two of us, we are working to teach our kids how to be better cooks beyond the usual mac and cheese.
Although several of my kids believe they can live their entire life on pizza and mac & cheese, I want them to work on expanding their cooking skills as well as their palate. Learning to cook is what helps nourish your child and the family they build one day. By teaching your child basic cooking skills you are setting them up with what they need to keep healthy (and fed) when they are grown.
Keep the Kitchen Clean
A clean kitchen is essential to keeping healthy. Teach your child how to properly clean the kitchen and clear away germs that can make them sick. Show your child how to clean as they cook to reduce the overall work involved in cleaning up after cooking a meal. If you have specialty dishes and cookware like cast iron pans take the time to teach your children proper care of these items.
Usage of Common Kitchen Appliances
If your kitchen is like mine, there are a variety of kitchen appliances used. Of course, we have the range with an oven, but we also have a slow cooker, Instant Pot and toaster oven. If I want my kids to really know how to cook, it is important that they know what each appliance does, as well as how to use it.
Instant Pot Ultra 6 Qt 10-in-1 Multi- Use Programmable Pressure CookerBlack and Decker TO1313SBD 4-Slice Toaster Oven, BlackKitchen Knife Set, Professional 6-Piece Knife Set with Wooden Block Crock-Pot SCV800-B, 8-Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker, BlackThermoPro TP03 Digital Instant Read Meat ThermometerMIBOTE 12 Pcs Silicone Cooking Kitchen Utensils Set with Holder
Handling Raw Meat Properly
Raw meat is something every cook needs to know how to handle. If you mishandle raw meat or your workstation and hands after, it can be deadly. Make sure you go over how to handle the meat, proper clean up after and that washing their hands is vital to the safety of the rest of their dish. They need to know the severity of not properly handling raw meat.
Safe Knife Cutting Skills
Cutting safely without hurting themselves is a vital skill to teach your young cooks. If you are worried they will cut themselves as they learn to cut you can get a pair of cutting gloves to protect your child’s hand so they can learn to cut risk free.
Correct Veggie Preparation
How to pick, wash, and peel fresh fruits and vegetables. Produce is essential to a healthy diet and the knowledge of how to pick the best fruits and vegetables at the market and what to do with it when you get home is essential to providing your family with quality food. Teach your child the basics by taking them with you to the grocery stores and farmers markets as often as possible.
How to Cook Grains
Teach your child how to cook basic grains. Rice and oatmeal are great filling grains but many people no longer know how to make these basic grains from scratch. Instant verities cost a lot compared to making them yourself. Teach your child how much water to add and how long to cook for the best results. Show them how to add flavor and make these basic grains into an edible side dish or meal.
Making the Perfect Egg
Teach your child how to cook eggs. Eggs are a wonderful and affordable protein that can do a lot of different things, allowing for a large variety of meals. Teach your child how to make several basic egg dishes and at least one that can impress. This will give them a great tool for feeding themselves when money is tight and even the ability to make something for a guest in a pinch.
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Cooking the Meat
Teach your child how to cook meat in both a pan on the stove and in the oven, at the very least. You can also expand their cooking to your slow cooker, instant pot and/or air fryer. Whatever you use in the kitchen, make sure they know how to use it as well. Be sure to teach them how to tell if the meat is fully done. This will help them avoid food poisoning while cooking. Show them how to tell by how the food looks as well as how to properly use a food thermometer.
It’s All About the Sweets
Baking something as a sweet treat is a very important skill for kids to learn when cooking. The ability to make a cake, cookies or other treats can be useful for your child’s entire life. While they can live without cakes and cookies the ability to whip up comfort food on a rough day can be a great mental health tool your child can use for a lifetime.