Op Ed: Letting Our Children Into The Kitchen

February 10, 2012

Should we be letting our children into the kitchen? It's a no-brainer. 

After reading the NY Times piece: My Sons, the Sous-Chefs, my gut reaction was to say something snarky, with a twist of well seasoned "You can't be serious". You see, from where I sit, my 4 sons had better be pretty proficient in the kitchen. Their friends certainly aren't. We have kids that invite themselves to our house, but call ahead to see what we are having for dinner! A home cooked meal is loved by everyone, but never more than by someone who doesn't cook for themselves.

 Children must be allowed access to the kitchen, and here is why:

1. Kids have to play with their food. Where did the disconnect come in, that cooking was some sort of lost art? If they don't get a chance to mess around with their food, how will they learn to enjoy the taste of it?

2. There is something primal and satisfying, in taking a carrot from fridge to stir fry. Don't laugh!! After 17 years of fickle children, I am here to tell you that if they make it, they will eat it. Get your children to dig around in the vegetable bins and come up with something to heat up. It is entertaining (No Dear, we don't need quite THAT much hot sauce on the broccoli) and quite often, their unfettered ideas about food/seasoning pairings, might be pretty tasty.

3. On a more serious note, allowing them the freedom to work with the food-dare I say provide a meal for you, their parent, is incredibly rewarding for both parties. I have had the most difficult and important conversations with my children as their heads are bent over the onion they are slicing. 

After thinking about it, I believe that  Ms. Kaufman should get a virtual high five! Teaching her sons that the kitchen's mysteries are not that deep, getting them comfortable playing, planning and presenting food, is always a good thing. Food can unite a family like nothing else. We all eat, why not let the kids make the meal?  

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