The holidays are approaching and the children will want to be with you while you cook.
Why do not you plan ways you can help? Do not underestimate children’s abilities or the pride they feel for a good job.
Years ago I saw two impetuous little nieces, who were together all day. While playing soccer with some neighbors, the other person passed the kitchen when leaving. He stared shyly with his mouth open as he cut the skin of an apple on a long rope.
Soon he did his best to ring the words of my recipe, and carefully measured a cup of sugar, filling his mouth with slices of apple.
His brother never missed him. And we had the opportunity to know that he is still remembering.
Is not it ironic that it is the children who have all the energy in the holidays when we are the ones who need it? Take advantage of the power of youth and let your children help you!
From small to teenagers, young people like to get important jobs and love to have fun. Busy adults, however, often prefer to do things themselves to save time.
Consider this year teaching each of your children a new task that will become a beloved Christmas tradition as you prepare: be it Thanksgiving, Christmas, Boxing Day or even an Italian-inspired Pisces Party!
When I was a kid I was never allowed to wash. I could dry and store, but mom or dad had to wash.
When my son was six years old, I put on rubber gloves and left the dinner plates to wash them while my daughter dried and I was fading. It took us more than an hour, but we enjoyed every minute.
Reduce the control of the kitchen and help your children with the following seven ideas that are certainly fun and useful for the whole family.
And while you’re working, you can increase the safety in your kitchen for your little ones, with this article full of useful, safe cooking tips.
1. Appoint a Sous Chef
A sous-chef is your right helper. If you have several children, think of a good way to select your second order. Each recipe that elaborates has one, so everyone has the opportunity to take turns.
First, do some homework. Read your recipe and make a list of the necessary equipment.
Help your designated assistant read the recipe and the supplies list; some elementary and high school students can do it independently.
As a sous chef, this child can collect everything by himself, or he can delegate tasks to his brothers and sisters, if someone has a spatula, another has a plate of cake, and so on.
Then the children can take out the necessary ingredients and measure them.
This is your time to place the oven shelves where you want them, preheat, find your kitchen gloves and expand the cooling shelves and coasters. If everything goes well, your assistants now have everything ready to start!
2. Assign KP Duty
The duty of KP, or kitchen patrol, is another fun task for young people, especially when it comes to a built-in reward.
When you have finished adding ingredients to your recipe, the KP team of one or more will take the measuring cups, spatulas, bowls, etc., to the sink for washing.
These are the lucky birds that can lick the spatulas after the cakes are frozen, and they get the first sandwiches with the tasty ingredients that do not go into the oven, like the peculiar chocolate chips.
Go one step further and apologize to KP employees to help with dinner later in the evening.
There is no better help in the kitchen than a continuous wash of preparation dishes, especially if you do not have several sets of cups and measuring spoons. These helpers keep the momentum going from the recipe to the recipe.
3. Roll, Roll, Roll the dough
Do you remember the energy we were talking about?
Have your young children participate by teaching them about the dough. Helping to spread the cake bottoms gives your muscles a good workout and will be surprised when they see the results of their work.
Teens and teens will enjoy the challenge of processing the crusts on pie plates and whistling the edges.
Then give them the leftover dough to make small biscuits filled with jelly to order them in the Hungarian kiffle. Here is a simple method to make my version of these tasty jam cookies:
- Take the dough from the remaining pasta dough and coat it to a thickness of about ¼ inch. Cut in circles of 3 to 4 inches.
Tip: if you do not have a round cookie maker, but you do have a clean edge opener, simply remove both ends of a tuna and use the metal ring to cut the dough. Make sure there are no sharp edges!
- Place a carafe of teaspoon of jam or store in half and fold it like a ravioli filled with cheese. Seal the edges by pressing gently with a fork.
- Bake at 350 ° F until it is light brown, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and roll into granulated sugar.
- Cool completely before eating, in a rack with a piece of parchment or a paper towel underneath to collect the crumbs.
4. Stir a little interest
One of the most annoying cooking tasks is, in my opinion, the removal of a pudding or another sensitive dish that requires regular or constant attention.
When you juggle with recipes and there is no spare burner on the stove, forgetting to shake the spells.
What better way to ensure that all pots are maintained than by an official agitator?
In our house, the official agitator has a large wooden spoon or two, wears an apron from the chef and sits on a high stool next to the stove. Because the radio is within reach, he is also responsible for setting the mood with a music station of his choice. In addition, it is responsible for setting and controlling cooking timers.
Much screaming of salsa is avoided with a warning sound from the official agitator!
If the younger members of your family have not spent a lot of time preparing the food, let them see what they are doing and then try them out.
Ask for help if you go. There is no better way to learn cooking techniques than to model them.
From reading a recipe to putting together and preparing the ingredients, your children will absorb what they are doing and begin to anticipate their needs. Before you know it, they will be your food preparers and cooking is a pleasure.
If you are in a hurry, the questions and limited attention span of a child are of course not as welcome as when you have enough time to enjoy the experience.
But if we take our children with us when cooking, how will they never learn the basics, but the family traditions that only we can pass on to them?
6. Instruct the decoration committee
Placing a beautiful table is a Christmas tradition that forms a festive setting for a joyful celebration.
In my home where I grew up, and in mine today, the children have always contributed by making place cards and placemats for each person at the table.
Do not let your little ones, adolescents and teenagers be responsible for decorating the table this year?
Collect supplies for needlework, paper, stickers, markers and similar items to keep busy children occupied with making decorations while you prepare the kitchen.
Seasonal season seasonal cards are ideal for placement in places that older children can adjust for each location.
I still use the place cards that my adult children made for Thanksgiving ten years ago, with cards and magazine cutouts that they personalized with a marker.
Another nice project is making packages cutlery and napkins to guide each place. Evergreen twigs and ribbon, pineapple and ornaments are fun accessories for the table.
Have the older children prepare a nice table from start to finish, including polishing the silver and ironing the clothes on the table. Teach them how and give them this job every year. This is the material from which memories are made!
The most important thing is that you have fun. Cooking sometimes seems a difficult task. But there are things you can do to prevent a dispute or frustration before it starts.
Change the music from time to time, or change children who are stressed with a particular task to another task.
When the learning experience is fun, children will be more successful in retaining what they have learned. And they will gladly help in the kitchen again, when the opportunity arises!
The family that cooks together
Even the most reticent youngsters will participate if you let them know that their contributions are important to the whole family.
Let everyone involved in the process of making parties happen. Start with new and fun culinary traditions, and soon the kitchen will be everyone’s favorite room!
How do your children help you to prepare sweets this season? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.