Friday, August 20, 2010

Reinventing The Wheel

It's been a while since I've posted here. Life has been busy. And complicated. And challenging. I've started multiple blog posts, only to not quite be able to pull my thoughts together. Just too much happening all at once in my mind. Sometimes that's just how it goes.

On the up side, I've seen compelling evidence of the difference resulting from the dietary changes we've made, and that even The Boy, who has fought these changes at almost every step, is starting to appreciate the difference in how he feels- at least when he stops eating this way. That's worth a lot. And it's part of what pushed me over the edge to tackle another, long neglected, food goal. Tonight's dinner preparation was the first of the kids' cooking lessons.

Sometime back toward the beginning of this journey, the reality of my own spectacular lack of training in the "kitchen arts" sank in. It was an overwhelming realization to confront while also trying to radically change the totality of one's dietary habits. But it also made me cognizant of the need to prepare my children better than I had been prepared. Yet, being at the beginning of that journey myself left me frustrated and not ready to tackle teaching anyone else. The goal was shelved until recently.

I'm still learning how to cook with real ingredients rather than short-cut ingredients that are convenient but packed with stuff we shouldn't actually eat. I still get frustrated in the kitchen on a fairly regular basis. And, sadly, I still botch meals on a fairly regular basis. Fortunately, I have learned that thats's one of the lessons the kids need to learn- that developing cooking skills takes time. It takes trials and, inevitably, errors.

I had been getting frustrated with the restrictions on what I could prepare- not only from my own lack of knowledge, but due to the kids "won't eat" lists. And I had grown tired of complaints when things didn't go as planned in dinner preparation.

Finally, this combination of circumstances came together to push me to just jump in where I am and let the kids learn first hand the trials and tribulations of feeding your family. I feel like I'm reinventing the wheel. I know the knowledge to manage a kitchen well and prepare tasty wholesome foods is out there. I'm still working on tracking it down. But that's okay. We can learn together- and they can avoid waking up when they're pushing forty and realizing they don't know how to appropriately feed their bodies. It'll be an adventure. The kids will gain a useful skill. I'll gain a few nights off from cooking duty. And hopefully we'll all gain greater appreciation for each others efforts. Wish us luck on this new journey- we're going to need it!

How about you- have you taught your kids to cook? Do you have any tips to share?

This post is participating in Fight Back Friday, hosted by Food Renegade.


  1. We started by learning to cook favorites. I set up a calendar and picked Sunday afternoon as the most likely to work time for us. Each time we cooked we made a favorite food of my son. I remember we did a fair number of treats - cinnamon rolls, pretzels, chocolate souffle, crepes etc. But we also made favorite main dishes. As he got good at these recipes he was put in charge of at least parts of the dish - he's a heck of a crepe flipper so that became his job when they were on the menu.

    I think kids are a little more interested when they have to cook something they know that they like. Later they can transfer those measuring, chopping, mixing, baking skills to other recipes you experiment on together.

    My son has been on his own for a couple of years now and hasn't starved yet. Last weekend he told me what he'd been cooking which was fun to hear.

  2. So glad to have a post from you Maggie. I have to admit that I'm still working on getting my wheel to roll smoothly. Usually I find myself in a time crunch. It's poor time management on my part, really.

    I was fortunate enough to be able to homeschool my two. We did a lot of 4-H projects, including cooking. Both kids loved that. DS chose to do a "cooking around the world" project book and made a series of dinners with dishes from a variety of countries. He was about 12 or 13 when he did that and I think it served him well. He just celebrated his 1st wedding anniversary, and one of the things he and his bride like to do is cook together.

  3. Marcella, Thanks so much for this. I had decided to start with the kids' favorites too; but I hadn't figured out the schedule. I think Sundays may be best for us too.

    Um, Leigh, I read your blog... Poor time management? I don't think so! Over-ambitious scheduling I could believe. Maybe. ;) No, seriously, I totally understand time management issues. Actually, I think the fact that I consistently expects things (all things) to take less time and go more smoothly than they do to be evidence that I am secretly an optimist!

    Thanks for sharing your "kids cooking" stories, ladies! It gives me hope!