The Gift Of Cooking
Cooking is a great way to both bond with your kids and increase the nutritional content of your diet. Cooking fresh vegetables and meat, rather than heavily processed snack and fast food, can actually raise your level of life enjoyment and peak your enthusiasm about the daily grind.
When I was young, I can remember my father taking me to the farmer's market to buy fresh vegetables. The idea that the things we were buying had just left the soil — and hadn't traveled for days in the back of a truck — has stuck with me to this day. But even cooking food from the supermarket can be an experience that your whole family will remember. In fact, it's often much more fulfilling than eating out at a restaurant.
Good cooking starts with preparation. Knowing what you want to make, going out to get it, and setting up everything before hand can ease a lot of potential hardship (although I do remember the fun I used to have running down to the store to buy chocolate chips or vanilla extract when my Mom needed these last-minute ingredients for the cookies).
Good preparation — mixed with a good recipe — can bring cooking to a new level. Decide before hand what things your kids can do, and what things should be left to Mom and Dad. If the recipe calls for chopping, maybe you should handle it, but if mixing or microwaving or washing vegetables is the order of the day, then the kids can help, and learn a little something about cooking for themselves while they are at it.
Of course, safety is important here. Knives, open flames and hot oil can be extremely dangerous. When well supervised, however, these activities can be highly manageable.
Being able to cook for yourself is a great gift. Children who are raised with the knowledge to order a pizza but not much else are robbed of an essential part of humanity — and are usually much more closed mind about food when they reach adulthood. By exposing your children to the internal aspects of a recipe, you are encouraging them to branch out and try new things, something that the world could do with a lot more of.