Through My Kitchen Window – Culinary Confidence

'Shiloh's Creation' - photo by Joel Weinhold

Ive always encouraged my son to cook. Hes peeled carrots and potatoes since the age of 3. He considers it his job to stir batters. Were still working on slow and smooth.

He loves supervising his scrambled eggs and adding the salt and pepper. When he was 2 he attempted to cook his own eggs. Luckily for me, he forgot to turn the burner on.

Whenever I have a pot simmering on the stove, he pulls a chair over to the spice rack and starts making add-in suggestions. His favorite is cinnamon. Hes pretty sure it tastes good in everything. Oregano is another favorite. Im still trying to explain why oregano doesnt work in banana pudding.

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I do my best to encourage his culinary confidence. Whenever he has a part in food prep, we always proudly tell those seated around the supper table that Shiloh helped to cook supper.

There are rules of course about which knives he can use, how far he needs to be from the stove when a burner is on, not helping himself to the contents of the frig, and not wantonly adding spices to the soup pot.

Hes always followed the rules (as well as a toddler can be expected to) until yesterday. While his dad took an impromptu snooze on the sofa, Shiloh decided to make himself a snack. From the frig he took a quart of applesauce. From the counter a soft stick of butter. From the spice rack came cinnamon and bay leaves. The resulting mix didnt appeal to him, so he hid it behind the blender.

Later in the day, as I picked up the dirty spoons from under the table (apparently his food prep area) and pondered my empty bottle of bay leaves I realized what had occurred. After questioning, the little chef directed me to his creation. A serious discussion followed, entailing the necessity of waiting for mommy or daddys help before cooking. He promised to curb is creativity, and after a good laugh we moved on.

As the day progressed, I wondered why the cats were refusing their food. Its Shilohs job to feed them, and he had (over)filled their bowl earlier in the morning. Upon a closer inspection, I realized that there was applesauce, butter, bay leaves, and cinnamon mixed into the cat food. We had another serious discussion about the taste preferences of kitty cats, and a new bowl of food was offered to the (very hungry) cats.

Mishaps will happen when curious children are involved. But I consider them worth it. Encourage your kids to create in the kitchen. Confidence as a young child is invaluable when they are older. Having the know-how and confidence to cook for themselves are the stepping stones to a healthy diet.

Adding peanut butter to the turnips or parsley in the chocolate cake batter is just part of the learning process (Yes, its happened.).Encourage you kids to cook. Involve them in your daily food prep. The resulting culinary confidence is worth it!