Cooking has always been my job. Neither of my girls ever expressed much interest in helping me with meal prep. However, that is changing. Maddie, my youngest daughter, has enrolled in culinary arts and food science as electives at her new high school. It seems that learning about a healthy diet has made her more interested in being involved with cooking meals.
Maddie has always been very particular about what she puts in her body, due to her severe reflux disorder she battles with on a regular basis. With her new education on food and where our food comes from she has decided to lead basically a vegetarian lifestyle. This kind of creates a little problem for our family, a group of carnivores. I have never made a vegetarian meal in my life.
Turns out this was not a problem at all. Maddie simply researched and created her own menu and grocery list. She prepares her own meals and we have even become fans of some of her vegan dishes. Maddie says being able to make her own meals makes her feel more independent. I never thought of that before. I started thinking of all the benefits I have noticed since my baby has become less of a visitor and more of a resident in my kitchen.
COOKING BUILDS CONFIDENCE
Confidence, the feeling or belief the one can rely on something or someone. In this case, that someone is herself. Maddie knows she can cook, and I don’t mean just microwave a can of soup. She can easily bake a cake from scratch, or even whip up some homemade vegetable patties. Cooking is no longer a mystery that requires a mom’s explanation. She can read a recipe, understand it, and interpret it into a delicious meal. There is no longer an unsure child in the kitchen, but a confident young lady.
COOKING PROMOTES INDEPENDENCE
A child needs a mother to cook them a dinner, but an independent young adult no longer requires the aide of a parent to prepare meals. How does the saying go, give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Well the same concept goes for cooking. Before Maddie learned to cook she would never go to the grocery store in search of ingredients. However, that has all changed. She now just asks for the keys and cash, and she is good to go.
BONDING WHILE COOKING
Teenagers can sometimes be in their own little world, and most of the time that world does not include parents. Now that Maddie enjoys cooking she spends less time in her room and more time in the kitchen with me. I am loving it. Of course she is in there to cook, but there is always time for chit chat about her life. I know she would never say it out loud, but she enjoys the way I gush over her culinary skills. If one of the other kids say they are going to cook, it is always met with “Ask Maddie for some help.”
If you have a child that is interested in cooking, encourage their curiosity. It may lead to a career or just a skill that could improve other parts of their life. Maddie has no desire to be a chef, it’s still medical school for her, but she will always have her culinary and life skills that came from a desire to cook.