You would love to teach your kids how to cook but you’re not sure whether it is safe or if it is the right time? You may also be wondering where to start or which recipes your kids will find interesting. Many parents struggle with these thoughts and more when it comes to helping their kids learn how to cook. Here are few tips to guide you.

Why is it important for kids to learn how to cook?

Learning is fun: Kids love to learn new stuff especially when they are learning from mum or dad. While learning to cook they get to learn new words, feel different textures and see how different ingredients react with one another just like in a science experiment.

They get to appreciate mum’s cooking: When kids learn to cook they get to experience what is required to prepare a meal. From planning, preparing ingredients, cooking the food nicely for everyone to enjoy, serving the food and washing up. They also get to understand the joy mum feels when someone loves her cooking or the frustration she feels when she has a picky eater. (LOL)

Cooking together is a way to bond:  A cooking session is usually an excellent way to bond with the kids. Make it an enjoyable experience so that the kids will look forward to doing it again. Take pictures and make videos to make it even more special.

Gives kids an opportunity to be of help: Everyone wants their kids to be helpful around the house but kids can’t help if they don’t have the skills required. There are days when we have a lot to juggle and will be grateful for a little help with making dinner. On days like these your child’s cooking skill comes in handy. He can help cook one of the simple meals you have taught him while you focus on the other stuff you need to take care of.

Helps children learn about nutrition: Cooking presents a great opportunity to teach kids about nutrition. Talk about ingredients you are cooking with, the nutrients they contain and what they do for the body.

Gives mum some time to rest: Mum needs to rest once in a while so the kids can handle breakfast while mum snuggles in bed on a Saturday morning.

One more thing they can be proud of: Kids are usually proud to say ‘I can cook’ (we all are).  So teaching them to cook gives them one more achievement to be proud of.

What age is safe for kids to learn to cook?

There is no specific age to learn how to cook. A child can start being helpful in the kitchen from as early as 5years. They can start by helping to whisk eggs, butter bread slices, pass the salt and do other simple tasks to help them get comfortable in the kitchen. It is up to parents to decide on the age their kids should learn to cook.

 

Tips to make the kitchen safe for kids:

Before you start your cooking sessions it is important to make your kitchen safe for you and your kids. Follow the safety tips below.

  • Put sharp items away
  • Canned ingredients like tin tomatoes should be opened by adults
  • Do not use pots or pans with broken or faulty handles
  • Set up your working area away from the cooker
  • Frying should be done by adults
  • When frying, make sure the handle of the pan is pointed away from you and is inwards of the cooker
  • Do not leave napkins on the cooker or close to the fire
  • Kids should avoid lifting or caring heavy items in the kitchen
  • Use mittens to handle hot objects
  • Always put on slippers before operating electrical appliances.
  • Dry your hands before you turn on electrical appliances.
  • If you have a burn, do not rub. Hold it under cold running water for about 10 minutes.
  • Never add water to a pan containing hot oil
  • If a kid has to climb on a stool or chair to reach a work area, ensure that it is firm and away from the cooker

 

What simple recipes can kids learn?

We have gone beyond our regular rice meals and soups to some more interesting recipes that kids will love to learn. Here are 5 simple recipes that kids will love to learn.

Plantain Frittata

2 plantains (diced)
4 eggs
2 sausages (chopped)
1 medium onion (Chopped)
1 bell pepper (diced)
Spring onions (chopped)
A pinch of salt
½ teaspoon dried pepper
½ teaspoon curry powder
½ teaspoon of thyme
2 table spoons groundnut oil
2 seasoning cubes

Method:
Fry diced plantain until brown and set aside.
In a frying pan, heat up oil on medium heat.
Sauté onions for 1 minute.
Add curry powder, thyme, seasoning cubes and dried pepper.
Add diced sausages and salt to taste.
Stir and leave to cook for 2 minutes on low heat.
Pour in the chopped pepper and spring onions.
Stir and leave for another 2 minutes.
Turn off the burner and leave mix to cool.

Whisk eggs till fluffy.
Add the cooled mix to the eggs, add diced plantain and stir.
Grease a 10 inch pan, pour mix into it and cover pan with a lid.
Leave on low heat till it sets.

Cut into pizza size portions and enjoy.

photo credit: tvcontinental.tv
plantain-frittata

Yamarita

2 slices of yam
1 egg
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 pepper (chopped)
1 green bell pepper (chopped)
1 small onion (chopped)
Vegetable oil

Method:
Parboil yam, add salt to taste and ½ teaspoon of sugar.
Beat egg, add a pinch of salt and the remaining sugar.
Add chopped pepper and onions to the egg.
Put the sliced yam into the mix and make sure both sides of the yam are covered in the egg mixture.
Deep fry till golden brown.

Serve with stew and enjoy

Spaghetti Bolognese

1 pack of spaghetti
5 big plum tomatoes
2 peppers
500g of mincemeat
2 garlic cloves (chopped)
1 medium onion (chopped)
Salt to taste
Carrot (chopped)
Spring onions (chopped)
2 seasoning cubes
2 spoons of vegetable oil
1 cup of water

Method:
Blend tomatoes and pepper till smooth
Fry chopped onions and blended tomato for about 5 minutes
Add 1 cup of water, minced meat, salt to taste and seasoning cubes.
Stir and cover with a lid. Leave for 5 to 10 minutes.
Add carrot and garlic leave to simmer for another 2 minutes
Boil spaghetti with a pinch of salt till it is cooked.
Drain water from spaghetti
Pour sauce into pot of spaghetti and mix well.
Leave to simmer on medium heat.

When cooked sprinkle with spring onions.
Serve with chicken, beef or fish and enjoy.

Pancakes

1 cup of plain flour
2 eggs
½ cup of milk
2 tablespoons of margarine
1 cup of water
3 table spoons of sugar
Pinch of salt
Vegetable oil
Red food colour (optional)

Method:
Melt the margarine.
Break eggs into the melted margarine, whisk till smooth.
Add ½ cup of water, milk, sugar, salt and ground pepper and mix well.
Add flour and the remaining water, mix till smooth.
If batter is lumpy you can make it smooth it with a blender.
Add a drop of red food colour (optional).

Grease a pan with few drops of vegetable oil.
Leave pan on the burner till hot.
Using a scoop pour some pancake batter into the pan, tilt pan to spread batter evenly.
Fry for about 2 minutes or till light brown, watch the heat to prevent the pancake from sticking to the pan.
Flip pancake with a kitchen spatula and fry the other side till light brown.

Serve in a plate when both sides are done. Enjoy with a cup of cocoa or tea.

 Hot dog

Bread rolls
Sausage or chicken franks
Lettuce
Ketchup or Mayonnaise

Method:
Grill sausage or fry with 1 table spoon of oil.
Slice bread vertically so that it opens like a book.
Wash lettuce and leave to dry.
Place lettuce on one part of the bread.
Place sausage on the lettuce.

Top with ketchup and mayonnaise

Recipes for this post are by Omon Obike of Ogiks Catering services. She runs Kiddies Hangout with Ogiks, a summer cookery school for kids. Follow on Instagram @ogik_services.