Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Cooking with Kids

Ok, you guys remember when I talked about canning with Max? Well, he's still at least as fascinated with being in the kitchen as he was then. He even made a chef hat at school which he proudly wears in the kitchen. It's pretty stinkin' adorable watching him cook. Of course, there's a challenge to it too, since his dreams don't quite match up with his abilities.

He has this solid confidence that he can make anything he sees a picture of, or if he can't, then I can. It's very sweet, but also quite a lot to live up to. Fortunately  he's fairly forgiving of when it goes wrong as long as he still gets to be involved. I usually invite him in to stir, measure, sift, count, or something like that. He feels included, the mess is somewhat limited, and the food still comes out like it's supposed to. Baking is usually his favorite (mine too).

However, he recently informed us that he wanted to cook a whole dinner by himself. He was pretty adamant. We were all for it, but this presented a challenge of it's own. What can you have a 4-year-old cook on his own? And then also have him and the adults be willing to eat it?!? We went with a classic stand-by: pigs in blankets. Max studiously wrapped each hot dog in its own crescent roll, then made tater tots and frozen peas to go with it. I was allowed to assist him as far as opening containers and getting things out of the oven, but that's it. He was soooooo proud.

He's repeated this one couple of time since then, as well as made soup and grilled cheese (on the panini maker), and baked potato bar. I hope he stays as interested in cooking as he is now, since it's a great thing for us to do together. We both still love baking best though.

Usually, I love baking from scratch. It really doesn't take much longer and the results are way better. But, when Max wants to do it all himself we do sometimes resort to the mixes. Here's Max, in his chef hat of course, making cupcakes from a mix.

He loves this because he does almost everything himself. He gets to measure, mix, etc without mom's help. Then, of course, comes icing and taste-testing which are the best parts.

We also have 2 favorite kids' cookbooks to recommend!
First, I love Klutz books, and this one is no exception:

Kids Cooking: A Very Slightly Messy Manual 
Max picked is on a trip to Powell's and he totally loves that he now has his own measuring spoons. 

Also, since he loves baking, we use the My First Baking Book a lot:
My First Baking Book
I love how visual this one is. My only complaint with it it that it has a lot of cutesy recipes that look better than they taste and make a way bigger mess that I think they're really worth. But Max loves it!

Do you guys cook with your kids? Any favorite recipes or meals to share? Cause we're always looking for more!


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