Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Little One's First Cooking Experience! 小哥哥初次下厨

Little Captain was always keen to help up in the kitchen since turning 2+. He has been helping to knead the cookies, whisk a batter, decorate cupcake; small chores, but often brought him tons of joy and sense of achievement. Kids of this age, says 3 to 5, loves helping up and want to be treated like a big kid, being able to do so actually boosts their confident and gives some feel-good points.

So I had been thinking to let him try out cooking, something simple so he can get a feel how it is like to handle the pan and stove. When we walked passed the kitchen supplies corner in a hypermarket, he saw the small frying pan and kept telling me those are the right size for him (at home I only have medium to large pans). Knowing that he was genuineing  interested, I helped him picked a right size pan, with heated protected handle and non stick coating.

Upon reaching home, he just couldn't wait to start cooking right away, he put on his apron, washed his hands and told me he's ready. I was so amused but did not laugh at him as that would probably put him off.

I decided to let him try making one of the simplest dishes - omelette. It's the one fail-proof dish with such simple steps:
1. cut it
2. cook it
3. flip it
4. serve it!

Here he was, learning to crack an egg, pour the milk, add seasoning and beat the egg with a kid-size whisker.

I let him cut a slice of the honey glazed ham using a butter knife and add into the egg mixture. 

I then heat up the pan and pour the oil for him, it's too dangerous for him to handle fire and gas yet. However I let him poured the egg mixture and count 20x before flipping it.

It's not easy to refrain him from poking the omelette with the spatula before it's ready, but I let him be since it's part of learning. Eventually I helped him to flip the omelette after few tries without success. Asked him to count another 20x before transferring the omelette onto a plate.

Ta-da, the omelette is done! Easy peasy, as my little Captain said it.

The lesson did not end here.. I let him wash up after cooking (just the bowl and whisker, not the pan and knife), and clean up his hands properly.

Finally, he got to enjoy his own cooked omelette. You can bet how happy and satisfied he was although it's such a simple food. 

So, what is the motive of teaching a little boy to cook? Some may ponder, especially for the male friends who think cooking is a girl's thing.

Well, cooking is an essential skill in life since we eat everyday.  Most importantly, learning the cooking process has several benefits as I see it:

• learn to understand instructions and execute them in the right order. This trains good communication and understanding skills which are 2 of the key skills required to excel in school or work.

• understanding the complexity of cooking lets them appreciate the food better. They know hardwork is involved in producing the yummy food on the table and will not be wasteful on food.

• understand how things work and learn to be independent. I once had a girl friend who did not knew that she had to pour oil before frying an egg, and she was 13 then. I would very much like my little ones to be able to do things on their own instead of being dependant on others all the time. So supervised cooking provides a good learning ground.

• Please note that real cooking has its danger, eg risk of getting burn or cut, so 100% adult supervision is required and I would strongly recommend to do this only when you are certain that your little one is ready.

• Besides be prepared to cook at 2x slower speed and you may have 2x cleaning up to do too. I'm not joking about this..

• To ensure food hygiene, make sure little ones wash their hands and wear an apron while working on the food.

That's all folks, do let me know your cooking experience with your little ones too.., I'll be interested to know. *wink*

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