Kids in the Kitchen

It’s Foodie Tuesday!

We love to cook and we love to eat and naturally we want to pass on our healthy and enthusiastic relationship with food to our kids.  Apparently it’s easier said than done given the reluctance of our 17 month old to eat much of anything these days (teething pain).  But it definitely helps to involve him in kitchen – and beyond!  Looking to cultivate a master chef, or at least an adventurous eater, some tips from the experts:

The Tiny (but Mighty) Sous Chef


At 16 months, my son’s first sentence was “I crack eggs” as he lunged for the carton in the open fridge.  So we do a lot of that.  If he’s involved in the cooking, he’s less reticent to eat. And he marvels at how the many eggs he cracks can become everything from a scramble to pasta.

  • When your sous chef is pint sized it helps to be organized.  Delegate those ability-appropriate tasks to kids but remember to tidy the rest of the work area of sharp utensils, raw meats, antique dishes, etc.  And give kids the low-down on what’s off limits and why.  Check out this resource from the Food Network for loads more tips.
  • If it’s a really little one you’re involving, try bringing the high chair into the kitchen and narrate what you’re doing.  Talk about the smells of the ingredients, bringing each up to her nose.  Texture games can also be fun:  letting them muck about in a bowl of lentils or flour.

These little piggies went to market

Image courtesy of Nature Moms

Every Monday there’s a beautiful farmer’s market in a nearby park.  It’s become a fun excursion for us:  rolling around in green space, learning about fruits, veg, cheese and meats from the farmers.  The little guy chooses a favourite fruit and vegetable each week.  Rationale: giving kids vegetable autonomy increases likelihood of consumption.  Sounds science-y right?

Toddler Dinner Parties

Too young for cooperative play, but sharing a meal is something that my toddler and his friends love to do.  And nothing’s cuter than two toddlers chatting across the table, clinking sippy cups, and sharing a meal.  We’d host them three times a day if we could.

Junior Master Chef Australia

Thanks to Nathalie for turning me on to this fabulous Australian cooking competition.  50 kids aged 8 to 12 cook the most amazing meals in a bid to become Junior Master Chef.  It’s amazing!  It’s inspiring!  How wonderful would it be to have a kid that cooks?  Now if I could just get mine to eat breakfast…

Any one else lived to tell the tale of a finicky eater turned food-loving grown up?

4 Responses to Kids in the Kitchen

  1. Mary Gibbons says:

    I love when a child helps in the kitchen! My granddaughter would stand in a chair and ‘cook’ next to me when she visited. While I prepared supper, I would give her a pot with water in it, a wooden spoon and the peelings from the potatoes, onions, or whatever else I was fixing.
    While I fixed “our” supper, she would fix her imaginary friend’s Daddy’s supper because the mother was working and she had to do the cooking for them!
    Those memories will live in my heart forever, and I imagine (hope) they will in hers too.

    • Midori Tanaka says:

      What a wonderful story – thanks for sharing! I’m sure your granddaughter treasures those memories. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of cooking with my grandfather. He always made me feel so competent in the kitchen and I’d brim with pride at how our meals turned out.

  2. Maria says:

    We give our 10-year-old daughter 1 night a week to cook dinner for us. Usually it’s an egg dish of some kind, but she does it all herself and she’s quite good at it now that’s she’s been making eggs for over a year. She’s happy because she gets to cook and I’m happy because I don’t have to. :)

    • Midori Tanaka says:

      That’s a fabulous idea! Once Jasper’s old enough, we will certainly borrow that one! I dream of the day he can make me a sandwich…

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