Miracle in the Kitchen

SHAZAMMaybe, just maybe, your son’s next developmental milestone is a clump of cooked chicken…..
By Pam Dillon

Something incredible happened this summer.  It was jaw-droppingly unexpected – in a win-the-lottery sort of way.  While I do believe in Santa and the Tooth Fairy, I never believed family life would be stirred and sweetened in such a magical way in my own household.
Then – ZAP! – the inconceivable happened.  The youngest picked up a cookbook. It was a spur-of-the-moment impulse as his friend was heading out the front door. They joked about the recipes, laughing and having fun with names and lists of ingredients. Next thing you know he said, “I can cook that.”
So he did.
With a swagger.
This was after years (and years and years) of the same exchange, replayed many times daily:

“I’m hungry.”
“Get yourself something to eat.”
“We have no food.”
“You have to be kidding.” Inevitably, these words were spoken as the door was opened to reveal a jam-packed fridge.
“Will you make me something to eat?” The question was uttered in the most dulcet of tones, a winsome look of angelic sweetness on his face.
“Get it yourself.”
I don’t know how…..” (Imagine the NAC Orchestra performing The Whine.)

Now?
Jamie Oliver’s would-be apprentice is in our kitchen
A nonchalant young dude saunters around confidently chopping, dicing, mincing, stirring, sautéing, mixing and improvising. WOW!
It’s as though he reached a developmental milestone, recognized it as a clump of cooked chicken, sliced it, spiced it and rustled up fajitas.
I’m dazzled. Grateful too. You see, his cousin, ten years older, lived with us for a few months once and although my handsome, beloved nephew was a joy to have around, he was helpless when it came to feeding himself.  The stove and oven were downright perplexing.
This was certainly entertaining and we teased him, but I do worry about malnourishment.
What if they starve, these non-cooking kids?

To make the kitchen miracle happen for your young (tween or teen) males, here’s what I suggest:

  • Leave cookbooks lying around.
  • When you’re cooking, ask them to take over for a couple of minutes while you talk on the phone or attend to another task.  Watch carefully as they stir or adjust the heat.
  • Ask them to turn on the oven/stove for you or to take the roast/lasagna/casserole out of the oven. (Counsel them to be cautious with the oven.)
  • Get them to chop or slice vegetables regularly. (At our house, we always have a plate or two of veggies on the table before and/or at dinner.)
  • Buy the ingredients for their favourite recipes. When they see the items in the refrigerator or cupboard and ask you to please make _________ and __________ for dinner, say they will have to help.

There’s nothing like an incentive to spur participation.
Happy cooking, kids!

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