Raise your hand if you grew up in a house with a feminist mom who was into women’s rights and breaking down stereotypes! The kind of mom that taught you Barbie could have any job and so you could you. Now raise your hand if that mom also forgot to maybe teach you how to cook a simple meal because that’s all her mom did and she is “Not her mother!” Well, I had that mom. And being someone who only knew how to make ramen was a little embarrassing. But my daughter will know how to cook, bake, and grill a steak!
There is nothing wrong with being a girl who cooks or bakes. I don’t find it degrading to cook my family meals. I don’t think it sets us back hundreds of years. I love being the one who makes meals for my family. I take pride in knowing how each member of my family likes their plates arranged and what condiments are and are not acceptable! At the end of a long day at work, chopping vegetables can be very therapeutic! So, I decided to bring my daughter on board so she could start learning now. Not to ruffle any feathers, my son also helps out a LOT. He is constantly asking questions in the kitchen and knows how to make a variety of meals for himself!
My daughter is nine going on seventeen! Cooking with someone who is feisty and loud is like being on Survivor — which is why every Sunday night is deemed, “Cooking with Crazy!” She picks out a recipe she wants to try and has to make her own grocery list. I’m trying to teach the life skill of planning ahead and a basic understanding that our house is not a restaurant, so we don’t have all the food on hand. Then she reads and directs in the kitchen and I am her sous-chef. Not only has she learned fractions, but she’s also learning kitchen safety, how to use a variety of cooking utensils, and how to hang out with her mom for an hour! It is my favorite day of the week!
One of the most important things I’m trying to teach her is how to make mistakes in a safe environment. She’s learned what it feels like to spend 45 mins baking only to discover the end result tastes, “like butt!” She’s read a recipe and tried to tweak it to make it her own! She’s also tried to cook without seeing a picture (gasp!) so she has no idea what it’s supposed to look like and she just has to trust herself. She’s also been able to learn from other great chefs in her life. Both of her grandmas, even that feminist mom who couldn’t be caught dead in a kitchen when I was young, have taken turns cooking with her and sharing tips and tricks.
It’s not always a success. She’s made some dishes even our dog wouldn’t eat! And we once spent 45 minutes making crust and filling for a pie, only for her to realize blackberries were going in it and, “gross, I don’t even like those.” Like I said, cooking with crazy isn’t always the easiest, but the conversations we have are priceless. It’s easy to express the day to day dramatics of 3rd grade when we are focused on cutting and chopping.
On Sunday nights, that’s where you’ll find me. In the kitchen with the crazy!
(If you need a place to start, check out: The Everything Kids Cookbook!)