Thursday, April 25, 2013

Teach a man to fish

What's the old saying?  Give a man a fish or teach him to fish right?  So true in so many ways!  That same belief can be applied to children and the fine art of feeding themselves.  My son is on the verge of turning nine and has always enjoyed being in the kitchen with me. He's my baking helper, veggie peeler and professional egg cracker!  Lately he's asked to take it up a notch and learn to prepare some meals.  I love that he's interested in learning how to cook, I think it's a skill that is sadly neglected in our fast paced, convenience driven, rush-rush society.  To me, preparing food is about so much more than getting calories from one place (the food) to another (your body!).  I've often said: If I feed you, I love you!  If I love you, I feed you!  It is my kitchen mantra.  Getting good quality, nutritious, nourishing food into my family is an act of love and one that, for the most part, I enjoy doing!  I'm grateful now to have the opportunity to raise the next generation of Rodriguez chefs and have enjoyed watching my son man the stove. 
His first adventure in cooking was to cook the burger sliders.  I formed them-frankly I'm not ready to have him pawing raw meat-but he took care of the rest, including a liberal seasoning of cayenne pepper!  He was so proud of his contribution to our dinner table that night, I loved seeing the sense of accomplishment he had in putting food on our plates and his joy in watching us enjoy that food.  Man, he gave his Dad an earful that night when he started putting salsa on his meat without even tasting it!  He was proud of those burgers and didn't want anyone to mess them up!  I was about his age when my dad taught me to fry eggs-in a whole lot of butter (who am I kidding, probably margarine!)  And then again a year or so later when I mastered the fine art of making boxed mac & cheese.  That's pretty much where I stopped until high school when I decided to try roasting a turkey-it was good, the kitchen was a disaster! 
The next morning he was determined to get up extra early and help me make breakfast.  We're a hot breakfast every morning kind of family and we go through a lot of eggs.  I really wish I had the space, and patience, for backyard chickens.  It would save me a ton of cash!  Alas, my backyard is woefully small and I doubt my neighbors would appreciate hearing the cluck, cluck, cluck of a backyard flock.  Paulo received his first lesson in cracking, whisking and cooking scrambled eggs on a large scale and did a great job!  They were perfectly cooked, extra fluffy, and filled with extra love that morning.   Watching my baby cook makes me kind of emotional, I must admit!  Sometimes I forget he's not little anymore.  He turns 9 on Sunday and the years have flown by.  The fact that this will be his final single digit year is kind of messing with my head! 
What about you?  Have you brought your young ones into the kitchen with you to share the fine art of feeding themselves?  If so, what's their favorite thing to cook?  And if not...what's holding you back?  Believe me, it's worth the time, the effort and yes, even the extra clean up to get your children interested and involved in cooking.  So get in there this weekend and teach your child how to cook something, then come tell me how it went!

Happy eating to all and to all a good life! 

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