Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Kids are Cookin'

I cooked dinner last night and my kids played their usual "cooking game".

The cooking game involves each of them rummaging through the cabinets and drawers (and my spice rack), pulling out bowls, wooden spoons, measuring cups - basically any kind of cooking paraphernalia they can find. Sometimes they uncover stuff I didn't even know I had: a tiny whisk, cool wooden chopsticks, long-forgotten cookie cutters or a spice called "Ole Chicago Seasoning".

The object of the game is not really to help me cook. They do help me cook sometimes, but this game is different. First they discuss the scenario: Should they be chefs? Stars of their own cooking show? Or just living at home? Once that key direction is agreed upon, they don their aprons, sit on the floor, arrange the many, many utensils and proceed. Next comes lots of banging, stirring and loud discussions of each dish (ingredients used, spices tried and cooking technique) and finally, a big "ta-da" with tastings and applause.

I write about this because I love the fact that they play this game. I love it that they are in the kitchen with me while I cook. Yes, they are playing a game, but at the same time they are seeing how I cook and the healthy ingredients I use. They typically stop several times to inquire about what I am doing and why.

Being in the kitchen and a part of the meal-making process gives them a fundamental connection to food - how it is stored, how it looks, the preparation methods and finally how it is served as a meal. My hope for my kids is that these seemingly simple evening games in our kitchen will continue to blossom into a lifetime love of cooking, food and family fellowship.

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