Thanks, Robin, for prompting me to write up our Kids Cook Monday experience! I saw your post and thought ‘duh, I should be writing about that, too!’
While wandering about the Twitterverse one day earlier this winter, reading about gardening and healthy eating, I came across @KidsCookMonday, which is exactly what it sounds like: an effort to get kids to cook dinner on Mondays. I’d given my kids a few cooking lessons over the years, but they’d never gotten back to the enthusiasm they had as toddlers.
I want them to learn to cook, so I decided that we’d just start it in the new year, learning as we go. I marketed it as a cool thing our family was going to do but didn’t really open the door to asking for opinions or (heaven help me) for approval. Both kids seemed excited, probably because I emphasized how they would be in charge and I’d be a mere helper who would also have to set and clear the table that night. Now that we are a couple months in, I’d say they are less excited but still enjoying the experience.
The kids have to choose the menu for the meal and let me know what ingredients they will need before the weekend, so that we have time to get what we need before Monday. I have many cookbooks, but so far, they haven’t consulted them too much. Instead they tell me what they want to make, and either I tell them where the recipe is or it’s something we already know how to make (for example, quesadillas). They have to come up with side dishes also, and the most common one chosen is fresh fruit. We don’t want to take this cooking thing too far after all!
So what have we eaten so far? The 13(now 14)-year-old chef has made the following main dishes:
hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls
macaroni and cheese (homemade, with garlic powder; truthfully, he’d put it in everything if I let him. I don’t where he gets that from)
The not-quite-11-year-old has made:
pepperoni pizza (homemade, with ABin5 crust)
cored apples filled with sunflower butter and raisins
As you can see, food that can be prepared without cooking is totally fine. So far one invented recipe (the filled apples), and only a few bumps in the road (underdone pancakes that broke when flipped). Another progress report in a few months; maybe something interesting will happen once the farmer’s markets begin again.