The six year old asserted that she could the tomato sauce for dinner. She turned over a small trash can and started stirring the crushed tomatoes. We added salt, basil, and garlic. "This is good." she said, "But we had a lot more to do." She went to the spice cupboard and pulled lemon pepper, brown sugar, a secret ingredient or two and began stirring. The siblings came to taste test. More salt was added and more sugar. She proudly tasted the finished sauce. We poured it over rigatoni and bow tie pasta, added grated mozzarella, some cream cheese, and Parmesan and stirred it all together. Served with a green salad, dinner was great because we were all together around the table feeling like everyone had contributed.
My babies are nearly always close by me. So they are often on the kitchen counters while I am peeling carrots, mixing bread, or cracking eggs. Almost from birth they are in the kitchen.
My children start cooking by frying eggs. At a young age (5) they can manage cracking the shell, the results are ready to eat quickly and the possibilities of what an egg can do are limitless. They start with a basic fried egg, then scrambled, then sunshine up, then over easy, then they create an omelet. Each egg is eaten with relish because it is their own creation.
Somewhere in this age range the children graduate to creating their own hamburgers. In my recipe collection I have the prized "Brent's Burger" that lists the special spices he added to his burger. It was a little too hot - too much curry but it was his and delicious.
Cookies are a great way to get familiar with the kitchen, a mixer, teaspoons, tablespoons, fractions and tasty products. Everyone in the family applauds the cookie maker. My husband could make eggs when we got married. Then he started making cookies, now he can make caramel from sugar and water, and delicious cream cheese cakes. Cookies were the gateway to kitchen confidence.
Then menu Monday the 13th of December:
Breakfast: oatmeal blender pancakes
Lunch: leftover potato, carrot, beef stew
Dinner: Pasta with tomato sauce and green salad. Dessert cookies from the Holiday Cookie exchange at school.