I’m not sure that there’s a better trend for parents to get behind than having the children learn to cook delicious meals for the entire family! Not only does learning cooking skills help prepare children for their independent adult lives, but it also helps them learn valuable safety and healthy cooking and eating choices, expands their palette and can also be a really enjoyable hobby! When I first spoke with Brooke, the owner of Figlia Kitchen, I was expecting to hear that the 6-year-old chef hopefuls at summer camp would be making the usual child-approved recipes: cookies, ants on a log, sandwiches etc. WRONG! At each class, Figlia students learn the skills to make an actual dish and usually a sweet treat for the whole family- think salmon dinner and homemade brownies! The owner of Figlia and mom of a Chopped Jr. competitor, Brooke, proudly told us about how the recipes learned are meant to be adult-friendly so that children can proudly come home and cook a new meal and show off their new skills!
I think as parents sometimes we may forget how capable our tiny people really are. I recently read this article and was amazed by how responsible young children are expected to be in other parts of the world! It certainly is a good reminder to me that I need to be encouraging responsibility and independence in the form of reasonable chores and expectations for my littles. One way to do this could be in the form of cooking classes like the ones offered at Figlia or event starting with simple responsibilities like setting the table, clearing plates, helping mix ingredients, and preparing a simple snack or a PB&J.
Why Cooking Classes? Besides the obvious essential life-skill of being able to cook affordable, healthy and delicious meals for yourself, cooking involves math, science, literacy, organization, safety skills and can be a great activity for a child who is looking for a hobby/activity that isn’t competitive (typically) and likes to see and feel their accomplishment! I personally have enjoyed cooking since I was a young child standing in the kitchen with my mom and great-aunt when she visited. I think cooking also can help children learn about problem-solving, accepting failure, and even creating and “inventing” new recipes and meals! Plus, things like following recipes and understanding measurement, mixtures and compounds are all educational goals in The Texas Education system’s curriculum/TEKS!
What’s Cooking at Figlia? Homeschool classes, scout badge programs, holiday baking classes, birthday parties, Chopped Jr. style competitions, weekly children’s classes, teen classes, and even adult BYOB nights (MNO or date night welcome!).
Tell us: What are your favorite recipes for your children to help cook/bake?
By Mary West
Mama of 2 and Teacher/Tutor; our almost 3-year-old cooks with me often and planning to teach her how to make some simple snacks and meals by herself soon!