Cooking with my child warms me body and soul

Cooking with my child warms me body and soul

Children cooking in the kitchen is always a good thing, but tweens are at an especially wonderful age to really understand and fully participate in cooking. Not only are they able to learn some basic knife skills without losing a digit (or several), but their palates are becoming more developed and they may be able to appreciate the science behind the creation of delicious meals. Bonus: it's fabulously fun.

As we've cooked more, I've tried to let her be more independent. When she was full after half a bowl of chicken noodle soup that she made for herself, I realized that she hadn't added in the can of water. That must've been rich soup - no wonder she was full quickly. Great lesson on reading directions. And when she made cookies on her own and with minimal supervision during the snow day earlier this week, she beamed with pride. A little confidence from creating on her own? Awesome. Add in the fact that she's learning a life skill? Excellent.

But my favorite times are when we are cooking together. It gives us a chunk of uninterrupted time together. No electronic distractions. No lectures about school work. No discussion of the birds and the bees. My belief is that taking the time to just be together without agenda will make those times together with agenda more successful.

"Cooking with kids is not just about ingredients, recipes, and cooking. It's about harnessing imagination, empowerment, and creativity." - Guy Fieri

Given all that, I wonder why don't we cook together more often. With her extracurricular activities and me working, it's tough. The fact that she's with her dad one night a week and every other weekend also limits the available time.

But I'm working on increasing that kitchen time together. We used to have a busy Friday afternoon of piano lessons and dance, and for some reason my work was always busy then, too. So, we've slowly moved or cut out those activities, and I've gotten better at quitting at quitting time. On Friday evenings when I have my daughter at home, it's a great chance to cook dinner together. It works out especially well this time of year, with meatless Friday during Lent and my daughter who doesn't like meat (but will eat steak). Meatless recipes are her favorite to make. Tonight, we'll whip up some crepes from an old family recipe.

The crepe recipe is from my great-grandmother. Knowing that she used to make on Fridays of Lent for my mother, who instructed my daughter on how to make them, brings me great joy. The confluence of generations that occurs in my kitchen is magical. One time I was disappointed that the park district didn't offer tween cooking classes, but then I realized that I'd miss out on that magic. And I'd miss out on those delicious crepes which nourish both body and soul, especially on a cold night after a long week. I've shared this recipe in a guest post on Meatless Mondays at Ups & Downs of a Yoga Mom, but I've also included the recipe below.

Great-Grandma J’s Crepe Recipe

1 cup of flour
1 cup of milk
pinch of salt
as many eggs as there are people eating (this works for up to about 5 people)

Whisk together the ingredients in a bowl.

Heat crepe pan (I just use an 8 inch nonstick skillet) over medium to medium-high heat and spray pan with cooking spray (or a rub with a bit of butter).

Pour approximately ¼ cup of batter into the hot, coated pan. Quickly swirl or tilt the pan to evenly coat the bottom with a thin layer of batter.

Cook over medium or low-medium heat a minute, maybe two, until the edges begin to curl. Once the edges curl, flip the crepe. Cook the other side for a minute-ish. You want both sides to be golden. Serve warm.

In my family, one person makes the crepes, while the other person butters and rolls them up. They can be served plain, or with syrup, or with yogurt, fruit or chocolate for dessert. You could do a wonderful veggie filling, especially spinach and mushrooms. I’m afraid my picky eater isn’t a fan of those, and I love these so much I am happy to eat them plain.

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