Monday, April 15, 2013

kids in the kitchen

this may be a real shocker...
but I really. really. really. like to cook and bake.

it all started when I was but a wee Katie, tagging along behind my mom and dad in the kitchen. my mom with baking bread and buns, my dad with making pancakes, stuffed bell peppers, roasted chicken and potatoes...a large percentage of my upbringing was spent learning the ropes of making meals and goodies. Mom always let me stir in the yeast, and help her knead the dough (with a big spoonful of honey as a treat), and Dad taught to use my eye to watch for just enough bubbles on a pancake before flipping it. over the years, through high school and college, it became more of a hobby, then a controlled and happy obsession once we had a baby. Charlie and I both came to realize that what I was eating greatly affected her, both through breastfeeding and what kind of example we were setting for her as she grew.
baby trying celery..yum!
enter a Lydia who likes to eat good food, and we have a very fun and purposeful thing that we can do together.  cooking with a toddler in the kitchen sounds like a recipe for disaster (now there's a knee slapper!) but I actually enjoy it more than I thought possible. if you know me, you know that my patience level is somewhere between an angry velociraptor and nonexistent, so really...if it works for me, it can work for your kids too. cooking with Lydia is something I am grateful to do, namely because my capacity for putting out good meals for our family has increased tenfold with my career change. I now have time to make a menu, shop according to the ingredients needed, and cook a balanced meal for my family. plus more time for Pinterest and other sites for great recipes!

also--another post in the making because it's too incredible a subject to only give a paragraph--where our food comes from. Lydia's been such a lucky girl to tap maple trees for syrup, garden with her family, walk over in her jammies to the farmer's market across the street, eat food made with local ingredients at Grandma's cafe and our home.  teaching her that real, whole food comes from our hands and hard work instead of a Hamburger Helper box is a set of values we have always wanted to instill in her. another blogger highlighted Farmer Boy as an example of true connection to our food as both nourishment and love, and I strongly agree.
tapping trees with Mom and Dad
watering our weed patch garden

so what does Lydia like to do when she's helping?
mostly stir and chop.
this kid know how to:
use a whisk
operate the Kitchen Aid
cut butter into flour with a fork
measure and pour liquid ingredients
measure dry ingredients (and to smooth flour over with a knife before dumping in)
scrape the extra batter out of the bowl
cut soft items with a knife--tiger claws, not duck bills, when we hold the food!

cooking holds so many lessons for children too--think of all the skills they develop while in the kitchen:
math skills--adding and subtracting, dividing batches, multiplying for bigger ones, measuring
names and shapes of ingredients
colors--we cook with a rainbow around here!
social grace--we make food for others, as a gift and offering of love
time together--because licking a beater with your mom is just awesome.

stirring the wet ingredients together

excited to get the baked deliciousness! -while eating extra chocolate chips-
nom nom noming on sweet potatoes

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