From the time my children were small they have stood by my side chatting and helping me bake and cook. They haven't always been paying attention, nor could they repeat some of the steps I made. But...they have a very deep understanding of the value cooking, baking, and sharing has in our culture. They grew up learning that sharing a meal or treat with another person was special. It meant you had to give of your valuable time, engage in conversation, and give sustenance to your body something every single person in the whole wide world can relate to.
Here is the sneaky momma part...along with teaching the nurturing value of the kitchen I also used the kitchen to give them math, reading, and motor skills.
This Blackberry Almond Cobbler is one of my favorite recipes for involving kids in the kitchen learning, tasting, and enjoying making a recipe.
Start with the blackberries for the dish. You will need about 18oz of them, which is about 100 blackberries. Rather than measuring, ask your child to count out those blackberries. And, of course, be sure there are plenty available for snitching. In my kitchen, cooks get to snitch healthy bits whenever they like.
The blackberries and sugar get mixed for about 20 minutes before being used. Why? What purpose does this have? Well, sugar pulls liquid out of the berries. So as they sit in the sugar, the blackberry liquid is pulled out and turns into a delicious syrup for our blackberry cobbler. Science is tasty! P.S. Be sure to have a kitchen timer and ask the child to set that for you. This helps their understanding of time AND requires them to find 20.
This cobbler dough is a simple mixture of almond flour, baking powder, salt, milk, and butter. Mix the dry ingredients together first and pretend to pour it into the pan. Do the kids stop you? Do they scream it's not ready yet? Why not? What is missing? Most likely they understand that something else needs to happen. Explain to the children that we need wet AND dry ingredients to make magic cobbler. And that the baking powder gives the dough extra power to rise and get air in it, so it isn't hard like a cookie but soft like bread. Again, science!
You get the idea, take this recipe that has so many building blocks of beginning baking and use it to teach your kids about counting, science, time, and more. Count berries, almonds, minutes. Talk about how ingredients interact. Let them turn the oven to the correct temperature. How about making a design of almonds on the top of the cobbler?
And, of course...let the kids be the very first to taste their efforts. Ask them if science, math, time, and learning can be tasty? And maybe, just maybe you will have a chef on your hands.