Why you need to get your kids in the kitchen with you!

Cooking is an art.

Cooking is a creative expression of the soul.

Cooking is an essential life skill that allows you to nurture yourself and helps you take care of your body!

Cooking is a great way to distress and explore your creativity.

Cooking is something you need to teach your kids and allow them to experience when they’re young.

Food made at home is made with LOVE and that’s an ingredient that you cannot buy.

Food made with kids is infused with so much JOY!!!

I love teaching cooking classes to teens and kids, because

it’s a super fun and hands on way for them to learn how to take care of their body. It’s also a great way to teach them some kitchen tips and skills such as…how to cut things, which knives to use for which veggies (serrated vs flat), which spices and oils go well with which foods and how to choose clean and good ingredients. What material pots to use, at what temperature to bake or cook things, parchment paper vs aluminum, tips to eliminate bloat from cruciferous veggies, what ingredients are smart to buy already prepped to make cooking quick n easy, and so much more!

Last week I had a 14 and 9 year old adorable brother and sister in my kitchen learning lots of great lunches that they can prep for themselves as they get ready to go back to school! They loved seeing how many different types of grilled veggies they can make in a matter of minutes and I think their favorite was learning how to make their own sushi!

Even at a young age kids are able to recognize and taste the difference in the energy and nourishment of food that they make themselves vs store bought. L & T left so proud of all the food they created and were excited to share their new cooking skills with their friends and practice making their own lunches to bring to school this week. Kudos to their amazing mom for recognizing the importance of giving her kids this fun and educational learning experience.

I’m forever grateful to my mother, Esther Blau, author of the Spice and Spirit Cookbook series (aka the Purple Cookbook) who even though was an amazing cook and authored and published a few cookbooks in the 70s, 80s and 90s (before food blogs or cookbooks were a thing), all while raising the 12 of us; she always generously gave my siblings and I free reins over her kitchen, and even cleaned up our mess;) This allowed us an outlet for our creativity, bond with one another, excitedly partake in holiday and Shabbat preps while developing such important life skills.

I remember in college, my dorm mates were amazed watching me whip up a delicious and healthy dinner for the entire dorm in under an hour. It makes me sad when I see college kids today who have no clue what to do in a kitchen, not even able to make their own breakfast. Parents mean well. We sometimes think we’re “taking care” of our kids best by doing it all for them, but then as an adult they’re lost when mom and dad aren’t around.  The good news is…it’s never too late for them to learn.

It’s our job as parents and educators to “teach” and “enable” our children by giving them the tools to take care of themselves throughout their life, both physically and emotionally. That is how we raise a generation of independent and successful thinkers and doers.

So, when is the best time to teach your kids to cook and have them help you in kitchen? Now. When they’re young! Build their excitement and make cooking a natural part of life for them. It’s a fun bonding activity too, between parents and children and it will make your child value, appreciate and enjoy food in a totally new way when they were involved in the prep and creation of it.

Tip for the week? Are you ready to get in the kitchen with your kids, even if requires a tad of patience and a little more clean up? Think of all the benefits, the fun bonding experience and the life long skills you will be giving them…isn’t that worth it?

***

(Photos feature: My cousin Runya & Dov Wagner’s kids of Chabad of USC who help so much in prepping the hundreds of meals they host for the USC students. And my sister’s delicious eldest daughter Mussia who loves helping in the kitchen, prepping meals for Chabad of Solano County. She even started making cooking videos for all her adoring aunts & uncles;) And one of my favorite little friends Leon who loves creating smoothies and recipes with me in the kitchen when I’m over.)

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