My sons are nine and fourteen, and they both know how to cook "real" food. Although its not typical for young men to grow up with kitchen duties other than busting suds, it's a skill that can help to unlock greatness in a young man. Anytime you can do something for yourself it is empowering. So how young is too young to start teaching your children to cook, and what meals do you start with?
Cooking is something my boys have always seen me do growing up. When I was younger the only thing I was really allowed to make in the kitchen was salads and sandwiches, if I wasn't made to wash the dishes then I was pretty much shunned from the kitchen. I didn't want my boys to grow up without knowing the skill of culinary creation and I looked at is as a way for us to bond and spend quality family time. It was also something that I wanted to incorporate in my homeschool lessons because it would teach them multiple lessons at once. For example so many math and reading lessons can take place in the kitchen. This also made learning more fun for all of us and the boys didn't get bored as easily. I suggest this learning technique for children who like hands on learning, especially when conventional methods aren't sinking in.
When you first start teaching your children to cook I suggest starting with breakfast because in my opinion it is much easier to make than most other meals. We started with pancakes, bacon, and eggs just because Kingston loves pancakes and eggs so much. He was the one that was anxious to learn how to cook his own meals. I allowed them to do mostly everything by instruction and I just stood back and observed how they did things. I let them crack their own eggs on the bowls, read the instructions to the pancake mix, and make it according to instruction. I also taught them how to add their own ingredients and how to substitute ingredients based on their own preference. When it came time to use the stove top I showed them once, and let them mimic my movements after I gave the example. We did lessons together for about a week before they started cooking their own breakfast all alone. Once they got the hang of breakfast we moved into other simple meals like pasta, pizzas, and soups.
By giving them these skills I have empowered my son's to not be dependent on someone else to feed them. They also won't be those college students eating noodles or T.V. dinners all the time. As they continue to learn about what to cook, I teach them the value of their health and that what they consume, both mentally and physically is important to their overall wellbeing. These are all reasons why you should teach them how to create balanced meals in the kitchen. Through my dating experience their have been a few men that I have met that didn't know how to do anything in the kitchen and that is really sad and one reason they didn't make the cut. The ones who I have met, who have honed their culinary skills have been secret chefs (lol). Most men, honestly, make absolutely wonderful cooks!! Since home economics has been taken out of schools skills like these often are lost in translation to be picked up later in life, but cooking is a survival skill that should be taught as young as five years old. We even go as far as going on hikes collecting wild leaves and herbs, and fishing so that they can learn to cook outside. So explore this craft with your children. Allow them to spend time with you in the kitchen creating your own traditions and recipes. If you aren't the best cook you can learn together thats the joy of life, learning new things together. I'm sure we will post a video cooking sometime this week so we can show you how it's done. In the meantime comment and share with us the first time you learned how to cook and what has been your favorite meal to cook with your parent(s).