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I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my daily digest via email or RSS feed. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

How and Why I Teach My Children to Cook

How And Why I Teach My Son to Cook-The Unlikely Homeschool

Although all of my kids love to "help" cook and bake, a few years ago, when Sweetie Pea turned six, I began a more intentional Titus 2 effort to teach her how to cook a meal from START to FINISH. I wanted her to know how to properly write a grocery list, purchase healthy ingredients, prepare and cook an entire meal, and serve it with a smile. Once a month, she and I had a Sunday afternoon date in the kitchen whipping up simple meals together.
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How And Why I Teach My Son to Cook-The Unlikely Homeschool

Using the classic, Betty Crocker's Cookbook for Boys and Girls, I spent time teaching her proper terms, tools, and culinary skills so that she would be able to successfully make ANY basic recipe. After a year-and-a-half of this method, I was encouraged by the Radio Announcer's Wife to get more practical. Since Sweetie Pea now possessed a general working knowledge of the kitchen, she could be assigned a bi-weekly night as dinner cook. My goal was to assign her ONE recipe that she would cook every-other-week until she completely mastered it and could be assigned another recipe.

How And Why I Teach My Son to Cook-The Unlikely Homeschool

I chose a simple skillet sloppy joe sandwich and even simpler cold side dishes such as fruit and pickles. I did not want to overwhelm her by having more than one pot/pan to watch at a time. I walked her through the meal the first time she prepared it, helped out with a few steps the following two or three times, and then enjoyed a "night off" for a few more times. Once I saw that she could prepare the entire meal all by herself (about 3 months later), I gave her a new recipe to tackle.

How And Why I Teach My Son to Cook-The Unlikely Homeschool

She now spends a few weeks learning and practicing each new recipe. Then, takes a month off to review a few of the old ones. (I hope to buy her a Family Recipe Binder for her next birthday so that she has a pretty place to keep all of these mastered meals.)

Lest you think I am a slave driver who just wants to have a "night off," I step away from cooking duties twice-a-month out of LOVE for my daughter. I recognize that she MAY NOT get married someday and she MAY NOT ever have any children, but she WILL need to eat. And unless I WANT her to go bankrupt having to eat out for every meal, I better ensure she knows how to feed herself. As her mom, it is my JOB to work my way OUT of a job. Nothing will cripple her more than doing everything for her AND never teaching her how to do it for herself.

How And Why I Teach My Son to Cook-The Unlikely Homeschool

And that brings me to my little man cub. Super Boy was anxiously awaiting his turn in the kitchen. He couldn't wait to make a meal ALL BY HIMSELF. Like his sister, he had to be able to read well enough to read a recipe without any help. For him, that meant seven years old.  

How And Why I Teach My Son to Cook-The Unlikely Homeschool

A few weeks ago found us in the kitchen together learning to make the same skillet sloppy joes that his sister had mastered some time ago. I recognize that not all my boys will enjoy cooking as much as my daughter does, but they ALL will learn how. As with my daughter, I can not assume that my boys will each get married, that their spouses will know how to cook, or that their spouses will always feel like cooking. (A bowl of cold cereal for dinner is fine every now and again, but after weeks of morning sickness, a woman sometimes wants to know her family has other options.)

How And Why I Teach My Son to Cook-The Unlikely Homeschool

My son was so thrilled when all the plates were ready to pass. It gave him such a sense of accomplishment knowing that everyone enjoyed a meal he had MADE and SERVED himself...with a little help from me.

Just before he took his place at the table, I switched out HIS plate for our family celebration plate. It was a great way to commemorate such a milestone meal.

How And Why I Teach My Son to Cook-The Unlikely Homeschool

How do YOU work your way out of a job?

14 comments:

  1. Such a good mom! Emilia cooks and bake here and there. She's getting pretty good! I've let my older boys help make eggs, etc., but I know they'd love to do more.

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    1. Thanks, Heidi. My boys love to help...so far. I hope their enthusiasm continues.

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  2. This is terrific! I never learned how to cook (properly) and I don't want my girls to go through the same thing.

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    1. I cab ditto that!! I was married before much of my skills were learned by trial and error.

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  3. Thank you for sharing how you do this. I have made meal times an "everybody helps" time because mom just needed help between being pregnant and/or nursing a baby for the past 8 years. I do want my kids to learn to cook for the same reasons you stated but I just have not though how to actually do it. Thanks for the help!

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    1. Glad to help. It's certainly not a perfect method, but it sure has worked for us.

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  4. My son is not old enough to read just yet...3 going on 4 really soon...but he slices olives with an egg slicer, cracks eggs for us, and when we make koolaid he practices counting by counting the sugar scoops into the pitcher :-)

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    1. My littlest ones love doing this too. Especially when I make cookies. The house rule is...whoever helps make the cookies, or brownies, or whatever gets to lick the spoon when we're all done.

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  5. I LOVE this post! I think teaching kids how to bake and cook is PRICELESS! I've been teaching a homeschool co-op class these very skills! Great JOB!!!
    4littlepiglets.blogspot.com

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  6. I learned to cook helping my mother and grand mother and I still remember the first time I was allowed to use a veggie knife to help peel the potatos, I was very proud! I think cooking is an essential skill to learn...my children are too small to start making a complete meal by them self (4 months, almost 3 and 4) but I started introducing them to cooking by letting them pull a chair to the counter and letting them help me prepare the meals, I try to make it a fun time, they love cracking the eggs and mesuring flour and beating...and if there is a bowl to lick I have to make sure that every body gets his share of liking!:) But your post was inspiring, I had never thought of having my kids cook a whole meal by them self for the whole family, I will certainly do that when they will be a bit older, they will be so happy and proud, ...the self esteem it gives them, that is truly priceless!

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    1. That is exactly how cooking starts here, too! My little ones love to pull up a chair and "help" bake. They are great at dumping in all the ingredients once they've been measured out. And the rule at our house is whoever helps mommy bake, gets to like the batter off the spoon!

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  7. Awesome! While both my kids love to help, they are not yet old enough to do much more than that (for now). Everyone needs to know basic life skills!
    My husband moved out of his parents house at 18. He asked me to teach him how to do his own laundry. I though he was joking. Sadly, he was not!

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  8. I am just putting this into practice with my oldest. He just turned 8. He does not want ANY part of it. I let him meal plan the whole week then pick his favorite meal from the week for him to cook. (I have him cook every other week) tonight was chili, seriously simple. Throw all ingredients into crockpot) he refused, saying he's not eating dinner tonight, he'll have a snack he can make himself. While I don't want to force him, because I don't want him to hate cooking, I want him to learn so he can fend for himself if and when he needs to! Any suggestions?

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