Experimental cooking with children

I like cooking. I can cook. For me it is natural to hand Miss Bee a knife and guide her to cut up a vegetable while explaining what size it needs to be for a particular dish. It is intuitive to ask her to grab the milk out of the fridge while we bake. She knows how to tip ingredients in already.

When it comes to main meal dishes I am not one who needs a recipe. A friend of mine told me she’d described my cooking to another friend as: “she could open the cupboard, see a handful of food items left in it and produce a 3 course meal”. That made me laugh. I was kind of proud of that prowess too. I am pleased to say the older kids happily experiment with meals.

Miss Bee already likes to cook and bake. I find it both joyful and annoying. Mainly it’s annoying when time is short and I am trying to get a meal on the table without her hanging off me trying to help. See Toddler Tip #3. But when she sees the product baked or sees the meal the helped prepare on the table she tends to eat it. Nothing beats picking, preparing then eating fresh vegetables. Sometimes we skip prepare and eat them raw.

I have taught my children the fine art of adjusting a recipe based on preference, available ingredients and sense of adventure. Imagine my delight in seeing an article aimed at teaching children to experiment with cooking and invent recipes. The best tip was to write the recipe down- that way if it works then you can make it again. This also serves to validate their ideas. As a literacy task it also demonstrates procedural text in a real context.

I am going to start small with Miss Bee and invent something within a base- such as muffins. I can make those with my eyes closed so am pretty confident I can tweak it to the right consistency. If it fails I bet the dogs will oblige us and eat the result.






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