Come on, what’s not to love?
I get to spend quality, TV-free time with Rowan, we get to create something delicious(hopefully), and we get to make a giant mess while doing it! Not to mention the skills he learns:
- Measuring(I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure that’s math.)
- The concepts of hot and cold
- Hand/Eye coordination
- Healthy eating
- Cleaning and organizational skills
The biggest draw to cooking with Rowan is that he loves it! When he was an infant, we used to cart him around in the sling while we cooked, explaining what we were doing as we went along. As he got bigger, he would sit in the backpack, peering over my shoulder as I chopped and measured and poured. These days he drags his chair over to the counter and stands on his tip-toes, while playing with the spice jars, or cutting up veggies. By the time he was 19 months old he could successfully crack an egg. In the past few weeks he’s mastered whisking. It’s such a gift to watch him grow and develop his skills.
Yesterday morning Rowan watched as I poured his granola, and he noticed that there wasn’t any left for me. He commented on the fact that my bowl was still empty, so I told him that we’d have to get some more.
“Cook?” he asked. I usually just buy granola, so I was a little shocked at his request. I figured why not, and a few hours later we were back from the grocery store with everything we needed.
As soon as we had unloaded the food, he was begging to pour and stir.
I wasn’t able to get any pictures of the actual process, because we were up to our elbows in oats and honey, but here is the finished product! Rowan asked to have it for dinner, and I obliged. It was delicious, and Rowan was tickled pink that he made dinner for the two of us.
One of my favorite memories of spending time with my mom was the first Thanksgiving that she let me make my own pie. I was wandering through the kitchen, looking for a snack, and stopped to watch her roll out some dough. I asked if I could help, so she divided up the dough, handed me a rolling-pin, and a mini pie plate and let me go at it. She didn’t criticize my uneven circle of dough, or make fun of my messy edge. She didn’t care that there were apples and cinnamon all over the floor. She let me make mistakes, and didn’t try to fix what wasn’t as nice as hers. (If you know my mother, you know that everything she touches turns out beautifully.) She served my pie first, and made a big deal of the fact that I did it all myself. I walked away from that meal with such a sense of pride and accomplishment. The best feeling though, was that I had contributed. I was a part of something big, and I was needed. And that’s what I want for Rowan. I want him to know that he is an important part of this family. His contributions are welcome and needed.
Cooking with Rowan is a privilege. He learns important life skills, while I learn to slow down and that perfection is not what we’re striving for. The best part is that we both create memories we’ll carry with us for the rest of our lives.