Image by ScrapStampSew via FlickrI cook with my children every day. There are lots of reasons I think it is important but the main one is: Cook for a kid and feed him for one meal. Teach a kid to cook and feed him for a lifetime. You see what I did there? 8^) Yes, the kids also go to the grocery store with me and help me look up recipes and experiment with new spices. They really enjoy it. Really. You can ask them.
If you've read any of this blog you know that we are not healthy. We have been searching for answers for our health problems for many years with no luck. We recently swore off all packaged foods and starting cooking everything from scratch. You wouldn't think that would be controversial, but it sure was. My family is actually angry at me and currently not speaking to me. You may think my family is a bunch of kooks, but they are just normal people. I'm sure you're thinking that I must have been demanding or condemning or nagging about it. I actually went out of my way to make sure our new way of life would not inconvenience them by preparing our food and bringing it with us. I offered it to any who wanted to try it but didn't force it on anyone. Nothing worked.
Now, something you must realize is that our health has greatly improved since implementing this new way of life. We have lost over 30 pounds each in 6 months and my daughter and I no longer have asthma. It is glaringly obvious to anyone who sees us that our health has improved. So why does it bother my family so much? I don't think they want us to stay unhealthy. I'm pretty sure they love us, so I am stumped.
My family is not alone in thinking this way. Every time the subject comes up people look at us with horror. I have actually had someone say to my kid, "Poor thing, you don't get to eat ice cream?" First of all, what kind of moron thinks no one ever ate ice cream until it showed up in the freezer section of the grocery store?! AND, do people really think propylene glycol is a necessary ingredient in real ice cream, therefore we can't possibly make it? We have ice cream in the freezer all the time. OK, so sometimes we get lazy and go two or three days before making another batch.
For some reason, it is assumed that we don't eat tasty or fun food because we don't buy it already made. Or, they think I don't just deprive my kids but starve them as well. We eat macaroni and cheese (my son makes a killer bechamel sauce) , ice cream, waffles, hamburgers, french fries, burritos and tacos (my daughter is merciless with the chipotle but it is oh-so-good), pizza, pasta, bacon, etc. as much as we want. I don't restrict the amount of food that we eat at all. I guess I do deprive them though because they don't get to eat velveeta, fruit roll-ups, twizzlers, nabs, Cheetos or bubble gum. Of course, those items are marvels of modern science and not actually food so we don't miss them.
All in all, it has helped our health tremendously. We actually enjoy each other's company and learn something new every day. Cooking is so complicated when you think about it since it involves proper food handling and safety, selection of ingredients, differences of cooking methods, proper utensil selection, timing, selecting the right seasonings, and storage options for leftovers. It seems to me that cooking logically requires an apprenticeship rather than simple lessons. I feel like I am giving them the gift of a lifetime by teaching them to feed themselves well. Really, it is just a touch above child abuse to send your kids out their own unarmed with the most basic skills. What skill could be more fundamental than cooking?