One of my fondest child-rearing memories was cooking together in our tiny kitchen. Not that we made anything gourmet, mind you, but we did produce some tasty treats. You see, when you include your children in the cooking process you make more than just a meal. Here’s the recipe:
First: Gather up the children. Though easy at first glance, this step is often the most difficult. Be prepared to have the television turned off and electronics put away. Have chairs available for use as stepstools for the littles. I suggest background music to set the tone of the event. (Because cooking with young children IS an event).
Second: Set out the ingredients. This includes the recipe. Read it out loud and point to each ingredient. If your kiddos are older, have one bring the items to the workspace. Then assign each child an ingredient or two. Here, they will learn to take turns and understand that each person has an important job.
Third: Forget the mess. Because cooking IS messy. Forgive the sloppy egg cracking, the bursts of flour, and the spilling of milk. Remember, it’s all about the process. Mistakes are opportunities for learning and laughing.
Next: Wait. This is often the time in the process when the children want to go away and do something else. Stay the course! Work together to clean up what you can while you have one or more of the children keep an eye out for the food. Watching cookies bake to a child can be amazing! Did they see it puff up? Did the color change? Are the chocolate chips melting? Can you smell the sweetness?
Finally: Enjoy! Most recipes end with this phrase. But I feel it means more than just the food. Enjoy the process and reap the rewards. You just spent at least an hour with your children. You taught life lessons and made memories.
If you follow this recipe often, your children will turn into young adults able to cook. But more importantly, your children will understand the art of preparation and appreciate the work involved in planning and serving a meal.
This meal preparation lesson parallels scripture. In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus gives directions to prepare the Passover Meal. He tells his disciples where to make the meal and provides clues to find the location for the soon to be Last Supper. He does not indicate the recipe or ingredients needed. Jesus prepared his disciples for this moment. He knew from experience that his disciples understood what to do and that each one had an important job. This allowed Jesus the opportunity to freely institute Eucharist: the ultimate heavenly meal. Enjoy!
So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover meal for us that we may eat it.” Luke 22:8