It’s a kitchen. There are kids. It’s bound to be stressful, right? They spill things, get their hands dirty and rub them on the counters; they crack extra eggs into your bowl while your back is turned. They do, when your back. is. turned. Believe me.
I definitely feel the stress when my kids enter the kitchen, but I am determined to have them in that space as much as possible. I have this theory that being involved in the cooking process leads to a well-rounded individual. From all those “tastes” you take, perhaps.
But really, I do think the exposure to the process of food and all that it is can be an important one in a child’s life. I remember when I was 12 going to my friend’s house for a school project. We were supposed to write a tutorial on how to make cookies. I strolled in thinking this was the easiest assignment in the world. I owned the cookie. Not only had I made countless batches of my mom’s chocolate chip cookies, I had dug through recipes and cookbooks and tried several on my own as well. Cookies were easy.
Not for my friend. When the recipe called for brown sugar, I remember her face turning into that “Who farted?” look. You know the look. The crinkled nose. The raised eyebrow. The flat-line lips. That one. Her mom admitted while I was there to never having baked cookies with her. Ever. Not once. Twelve years with no freshly baked cookies, no licking of the spatula. Kind of sad, no?
That’s when I decided that kids belong in the kitchen. Not just for sentimental reasons, but because it brings you closer. You bond. They learn how to measure and transfer. You learn patience. They learn chemistry. You exercise your deep breathing from yoga. They smile. You smile.