18 February 2009

Fifi le Chef

I have a good friend who read Gary Chapman's book "The Five Love Languages" and was chatting with me about how getting to know child's "type" can help you be a better parent. I was intrigued so I read up on it and decided that Fiona is definitely a "quality time" kinda girl. She is happiest when Marcus and/or myself give her undivided attention and listen to her extravagant stories.

Now cynics may say "well, don't ALL children love quality time with their parents?!?" to which I say "yes". However, as I read through the other love languages, I found that Fiona is most motivated and rewarded with an outing with her family or a promise to "do something" together.

Knowing this, we have been finding new activities that we can share with Fiona. One of the things she loves to do the most is "cook". While I am definitely NOT the cook in the family, I have even jumped right in and have enjoyed spending time with Fiona in this way. Our favourite thing to make is muffins. Chocolate chip muffins, strawberry cheesecake, orange cranberry, you name it, we mix 'em up. She loves to bake with her Gigi and has made some wicked good cookies and a nice cake when she has visited. The other night, Marcus was making dinner and Fiona wanted to help. Marcus found a great job for her - "snapping asparagus" to put in our chicken, asparagus risotto.

According to the UK website Kids and Nutrition, getting children involved in cooking:

*encourages healthy eating habits and fostering a love of good eating (The American Heart Association includes family cooking sessions on its list of "Top Ten Ways to Help Children Develop Healthy Habits.")

*helps to set their children up for the future

*teaching responsibility and sharing domestic tasks

* helps with "fussy/picky" eaters as children will usually eat something they have cooked

Other benefits:

* encourages the development of basic motor skills, coordination, and the importance of process

* is an opportunity for mathematical learning and scientific method

* introduces different cultures based on the type of food your prepare

Personally, I know that having Fiona help us cook has indeed introduced her to foods she probably wouldn't try on her own. I have tried numerous times in vain to get her to eat asparagus to no avail. Imagine my surprise when I popped into the kitchen and found her chewing on raw asparagus stalks. She even wanted to take some for lunch the next day!

She also "opens up" when we cook. She is more likely to talk to me about her school day and share her thoughts and feelings.

Cooking with Fiona is always fun. We are even considering taking her to our local Young Chefs Academy. If you have little ones, I would love to share with you a few links I found which contain child friendly recipes. Bon apetit! :)

Fruit and Veggies More Matters
BBC's Cooking with Children recipes
Easy Recipes for Kids
Kids Cooking Activities
Kid Food: Rachel Ray's 30 Minute Meals for Kids


Lu. Lu. said...

she's an adorable little chef, and I can believe all those facts about children cooking.

I think i need some cooking lessons myself. it's never too late right?

Ann said...

This is so wonderful.
Thank you for the links!

Jen said...

I love getting my kids involved with cooking too. My son loves snapping green beans.

Dawn said...

Oh that's fantastic!
Thanks for the links I will definitely check them out. My two love helping in the kitchen and both feel so proud of their creations. :)