I really can’t understand parents who cook themselves but don’t teach their children, or even worse, parents who don’t cook at all and live off ready meals. I know quite a few teens who are completely hopeless in the kitchen. DD2 went off to uni and was amazed to find one of the boys in her flat had filled the freezer with meals lovingly prepared by his Mum. Very nice of her, but wouldn’t it have been more useful to teach him a few basic culinary skills so that he could do it himself? Is she planning to bring him several months worth of meals at a time so that he never has to cook? I suspect so!!
My children were all up to chopping a few vegetables by the age of three, and we always baked cakes together. DD1 cooked her first full family roast dinner aged 10! They can all cook, and all understand what is healthy food and what is rubbish. I am not saying they don’t eat rubbish given half a chance, but generally their habits are pretty good. I always fed them decent food and didn’t allow them to become fussy eaters. I think you lead by example – if you cook good food and eat lots of fruit and veg, then your children will do as you do.
Tonight I asked DD3, who is 15, to make dinner as she is still on school holidays, and she made a really delicious Curried Vegetable and Chick Pea Stew:
1 onion, chopped
1 small courgette, chopped (I used frozen from my garden – you could use a bit of broccoli instead)
2 small carrots, sliced
chunky clove of garlic, minced
half a pint of stock
1 x 400g can of chickpeas
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
Half a teaspoon ground ginger
half a teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
half a teaspoon ground cinammon
Dash of tabasco to taste
Salt and pepper to season
Heat some oil in a large saucepan and soften the onion and garlic for a few minutes, then add all of the spices and stir for a minute or so. Add the courgette and carrot and fry for 5 minutes. Now add the chickpeas, stock and tomatoes and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste and simmer for around 15 minutes. Serve with some cous cous or rice.
Super easy, healthy and cheap!
Get your kids cooking as early as you can, and encourage them to try as many different foods as possible. Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables yourself to show them how delicious they can be, and to encourage good habits from an early age. Then, when you need them to knock you up a speedy tea, they will be able to and you will reap the rewards!