As a food journalist I used to write articles about cooking with children even before I became a mother myself. Once I had my own child, I realised that cooking together takes twice as long and you have to be constantly watching out for any mishaps. But don’t let this put you off.
Countless experts have confirmed that cooking with children helps them to form a healthy relationship with food. For our son, we simply made up a variety of different little chores around the kitchen, which he’s more than happy to do – in fact, he’s even sulky if I beat him to it! Firstly, there’s peeling potatoes and carrots – your little one’s technique with the potato peeler may be a bit clumsy, but it’s unlikely to have any drastic consequences. Children can also help to slice mozzarella for pizzas. And they can learn how to operate the mixer when you’re making a cake – so they know never to reach in while it is spinning. Kids will also love learning to use a kitchen knife. Not the huge chef’s knife, but not a blunt paring knife with a plastic handle either. Give your child a decent knife so that he or she learns to use it with care.
Cooking with children means accepting risks, while also remaining flexible. So instead of turning the dough into a nice braided loaf with my son, I’ve got used to ending up with a crab shape. Does it look nice? No. But it’s certainly a wonderful experience all the same.