What better than an adult who can rustle up a meal for themselves and family, without a fuss, Maggi and industrial bread packets notwithstanding.
It may sound damn uninteresting at the outset, but read between the lines and you can think of many adults around you throwing up their hands up in the air at the thought of cooking up a meal.
At the risk of sounding conservative, yet having no qualms about it, I wish to make a statement here, if eating is a fundamental need and a right, knowing how to cook must be placed among the top ten most important life skills. Ain’t it?
Imagine how empowered an individual is, who is able to throw in a few ingredients from the fridge and pull off a short and a quick meal all by himself. Well, I would certainly be very very proud of this person, uhmmm… may be doff my hat..errr.. fork to him.
All said and done, let us accept that everyone may not take to the skill as naturally and there do exist people who are excellent at everything technical but cooking. I can imagine them cluelessly staring at a pile of vegetables and spices on the kitchen counter just as I imagine myself staring with horror, at a spreadsheet filled with financial figures in each row and column. Something to do with left brain right brain? Perhaps.
Anyway, one of the best ways that I can imagine tackling this, is generating curiosity in knowing one’s food right from childhood. One of my very cute memories go back to my last workplace, where I was randomly, asked to take over a weekly class of ‘cooking without fire‘ with kids of age 7-8. I can’t believe myself when I think of the huge number of recipes that we designed with simple ingredients during those few months and that included, savoury snacks, desserts, salads, shakes and even mocktails. Voila!
I do believe that the younger they begin, the better they start understanding and appreciating their food. It can be directly compared to a situation when a child learns his algebra right in school as opposed to when he is exposed to algebra in adulthood. (Wink Wink) I might raise a storm here, I know, I know algebra is important, so no more algebra here, only cooking. ;0
Here are a few basics that I try and practice with my kids towards the said goal –
# I let them eat on their own at most times, so that they can feel the food and connect to it better than someone else feeding them. I know it is hard to resist the urge when we think of time constraints, messy hands and stained clothes, but we do have to let go of these thoughts at times. Of course, I do take over if they get distracted and leave their food unfinished.
# Deconstructing their meal, I think, hugely helps to introduce the child/young adult to basics like the source of food and possible combinations of ingredients, thus getting them to identify and experiment with a variety of stuff. For this, we make sure we talk about what they are eating during that meal and it ends up being a fun question and answer session.
# We make sure, there is no screen around at meal times, for the same reason that screen takes away the joy from the experience of eating and knowing one’s food, the child gets disconnected from food, is not mindful and at times ends up eating more than his appetite due to distraction. I understand a few of us have a hard time feeding our kids, but trust me, using screen to feed is a short cut which will not prove very right in the long run.
# One thing that we are still working on is buying vegetables and other grocery with the kids, it is slightly challenging at the moment because we get swayed away with their demands and end up buying at least a few junk items which seem unnecessary later on. 😀
I would not say I have accomplished all of the above one hundred percent, but yes, there are more good days than bad ones, if I am consistent at my job, because motherhood is always Work In progress.
Gradually, after years of hard work, my kids have started getting interested in exploring the kitchen and rustling up a few fancy looking items like, dessert in a wine glass or canapes. It does entail messy counters and sticky floors after the activity is over, but I am overjoyed to see them constructively spending their time, creating a dish is a happy side effect. I do hope they are able to switch to putting together regular food items too, when needed.
So while we take huge forward leaps, in every aspect of life, it is equally important to awaken oneself to basics and knowing how to cook one’s food is certainly one of those basics.
#LetsBlogwithPri is a blog train hosted by prisha Lalwani, Author at www.Mummasaurus.com I thank Mariyam Aaquib, author at inasandmamas.wordpress.com for introducing me in her blog about Ramadan. Do read more on it in her blog. Also, I would like to introduce Isha Sharma of justamaa.wordpress.com. Read here blog here https://justamaa.wordpress.com/
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my journey from a daughter to a mother