I grew up helping my mom in the kitchen from a young age. I remember her teaching me how to crack an egg, how to measure flour, how to take a scattering of ingredients and turn them into something delicious. Cooking was our love language. As I got older, I found out how unusual my experience was. My friends would tell me that they didn't learn to cook because their families were so busy, mom would shoo them out of the kitchen to get it done quick (and I promise no judgement from me because yes, cooking with kids can be so challenging and make the process a hundred times longer!). Or because their moms never learned, so they themselves weren't taught. I found out how blessed I was - cooking was a family affair for us. Both my parents love to cook (my dad still comes loves to try out new creations - always made in the quantities to feed an army - when they come to visit). My older brother can whip up a mean meal on the grill, and my younger brother can make creations from specialized ingredients.
The memories (and skills) I learned from cooking are why I started my kids in the kitchen as young as 2-1/2 years old. My kids had learned that if they wanted to be with me, they usually had to be in or near the kitchen! From that young age, they've joined me while I cook. They learned they always had to wash their hands before they could help. Then they could pour in dry ingredients, stir it up (and usually keep most of it in the bowl), help roll out dough, wash dishes...the list goes on. There were lots of messes in the beginning, but it's amazing how much they can do and understand about the whole process even though they're only six! Ironically, their favorite part when they were first in the kitchen was getting to wash dishes. Oh my word, there was water and soap suds everywhere, but they were so adorable! And I definitely got pictures to prove they enjoyed that chore at one time!
My kids love to help me bake - I think because there are usually so many individual ingredients they can pour in! In my next post I'll share a favorite recipe of ours - chocolate chip cookies!