Monday, 15 August 2011

Cooking lessons are hard!

Teaching my daughter to cook is turning out to be much harder than I thought it would be. I see lots of blogs with happy cheerful children hanging around the table laughing while they stir the batter of whatever they are cooking. I see this perfect picture of how it is supposed to be and cringe because that is not what is happening in my house.

My daughter loves to be in the kitchen but only wants to cook what she wants to cooks. So finding a recipe that satisfies her is difficult. But in addition to that I have noticed that I am not a great cooking teacher! I don't like kitchen messes, at all:(!!! Finding flour, batter, egg or anything else on the floor, walls and every single kitchen counter and cabinet drives me crazy. Finding a sink full of dishes at the end of a lesson is almost more than I can stand especially when half of them should never have gotten dirty in the first place. Yes, my daughter does do the dishes but not without attitude and complaining that makes me grit my teeth so hard I get a migraine. Okay, I admit it I do yell a bit during these lessons:( For that I am not proud of myself.

My daughter is an excellent reader but she has the hardest time following the simplest recipe, she puts the ingredients in the bowl in the wrong order (normally not a problem but sometimes it does ruin the dish and it has to start all over). I know part of this is her easily dis-tractable personality and her need to rush through everything just to be finished. This is something we continue to work on in her other lessons as well.

In addition to this my daughter doesn't seem to be able to stir anything longer than a minute, before complaining she is too tired, or the batter is too tough to mix:(. She also can't stir anything over the stove because it is too hot or the steam gets in her eyes. She also insists on sitting down for every single task given to her, sometimes I can accommodate but other time it is a safety issue and she needs to stand to complete a task for several minutes! It is getting so annoying I am seriously considering taking her to the doctor to see if their is something wrong with her legs, even tho I know her legs are just fine:).

I have come to the realization that while I am in the kitchen I am a perfectionist and have a certain way of doing things. Veering from a cooking procedure or recipe is very difficult for me. When you are teaching a young child you need to let go and ignore all the little spills and messes. I am trying to let go but it is proving to be a huge challenge for me. So as we continue our cooking lesson I need to dig deeper than I ever have to find the patience to teach this child to cook. I need to learn to appreciate her and her mess and allow her to learn at her pace and in her own unique way.

Honestly, I am not sure I am going to survive it!

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  1. I hear you! I LOVE the idea of cooking with my daughters, and have been doing so since they were small. BUT, the fact is that it is often super tough to have them in the kitchen with me! I am also a perfectionist in the kitchen (and in many areas of my life!), and that is difficult when teaching a young person to cook. Especially challenging is trying to cook with both girls at the same time. We do it, but more often than not, intense frustration results! It is getting better, though, and my girls are both getting more and more independent in the kitchen.
    Good luck, and try to enjoy it :)

  2. Some things are so easy to teach. Some things . . . aren't. Like you, I had to just grit my teeth and say to myself, "Someday, this will be worth it!" And it really is. 5 out of 6 kids are really good cooks, now. But, ooohh, the pain and bespattered walls of getting them there!!! Thank you for sharing!

  3. I remember taking HOME EC throughout PS and the rules were you must have an apron on the directions/recip in front of you along with all the ingrediants measured out and utensils out asa well,This will help with the chaos.Another thing was you must clean up while your dish is cooking or when it is finished.If you clean while you are preparing then you will have a clean kitchen.

    Try to enjoy it and remember she will remember those cooking lessons forever so let her learn from you.


  4. I can so relate to this post as I try to teach my children, especially my oldest daughter, to cook. Maybe it's just the age, but it is like pulling teeth to get my daughter excited, willing, and happy about learning how to follow a recipe. I just hope the little that I have exposed her to the cooking world will go a long way! I think like everything with my children, cooking skills will eventually come along. It's just one more thing that will always test my patience! You are doing a good job being persistent. I'd say keep trying and know that she will learn and appreciate cooking in her own way and time :) Clicked a vote for you!

  5. I hear you, too! (-:

    Growing the knack for cooking and cleaning up just has to be one of those long-time to-develop skills for many. We also have our share of frustrating moments, big messes, and many moments when the batter is too hard to stir, things are too hot to handle, etc.

    Stirring at the kitchen table (which is lower than our counter) or on a stool at the counter helps my daughter stir more easily. Sometimes I act as her "sous chef", so she has to organize what I am doing to help her, so she thinks things through more before rushing in. She isn't naturally physically active, and the years of gymnastics have helped her increase strength and endurance for standing and stirring in the kitchen, I've noticed. It's definitely a process, and I think the photographs of happy moments in the kitchen are just that- happy moments in a process that probably also contains not-so-happy ones!

    I felt better once seeing Jamie Oliver cook live with his children earlier this summer. It was chaotic (kids interested at first, then not, and leaving, coming back, the neighbor kids and pets coming in and out, etc) All this was going on while he was preparing a dish on camera. He seemed as frazzled as any other parent is. I felt so happy and validated, that this celebrity chef, so passionate about food and getting kids to cook, who has worked/managed/owned wonderful restaurants and used to high-pressure settings, was having such a ((normal)) experience in cooking with his kids! I'll try to find the link for you, if you like....

  6. Here is the link to Jamie's live webcast on making salads.


  7. Hey Ann, thanks for stopping by again, in lieu of your question....with google docs, you have to click on download the original,then print...I learned this lesson the hardway after trying to print a 50 page packet that came out all jacked up. lol Hope that helps.

  8. I can really relate to this post. I don't like messes in my kitchen either. My husband cooks a lot and he never cleans up; so I do. Through the years my older boys learned to cook but sometimes it was out of need because I was working at this time. One of them would clean up their mess and the others wouldn't. I was home with my three daughters and they probably didn't learn to cook as well because I did most of it.
    Now I have grandchildren and I want to enjoy cooking with them. I have now learned to relax a little and enjoy the moment and then clean up afterwards.

  9. Great post! I really loved your last paragraph. :)

    ~ Amanda from DenSchool following via Hip Homeschool Hop

  10. I'm sorry to hear that things are being so difficult. My kids all liked to help in the kitchen when they were younger and learned some basics. Then I don't make them do structured cooking lessons until 9th or 10th grade when I make them do a year of "Life Skills". So far, each of my teens is able to cook at the level he/she wants to. Of course, my 19 year-old son's standards aren't very high... :-)

  11. Thanks everyone nice to know I am not the only one facing these perfectionist tendencies:) Love watching the Jamie Oliver video Kristy thanks for sharing.

    I got a note from my mother yesterday telling me that is why she didn't do cooking lessons and when I left home she gave me a cook book:) I had forgotten that. It worked because I am a decent cook so my husband says:)

  12. Oh, thank goodness I'm not the only one!!!! My girls love to cook and always want to help. They will be 9 next week and I'm finally allowing them to help. It's awful. Cooking with them is actually one of my goals this year, along with patience!