Each week as I do my menu plan I check to see who is my "Cooks Helper". Cooks Helper generally helps with the evening meal but I will start calling on that person any time throughout the day if I need some food preparation done.
I have used the parts to whole method with teaching my kids to cook. I have taught them various methods / technique without getting them to cook a whole meal. This has meant that I show them something, talk about what I’m doing and yet aren’t slowed down by teaching them to cook. eg, they learn to peel vegetables but may not actually learn how to cook a vegetable soup. Later on when they have good knife control they may chop the veggies. Each time they are with me I talk about what I am doing and why so they are learning about saute-ing the onions, about bringing things to the boil, and eventually they can put it all together and cook a soup! I have done this with both baking and cooking.
The benefits of teaching this way has been, for me, that they can learn cooking on the run. I don’t have to set aside time to teach them cooking, they learn by observing me – I guess it is discipleship in the kichen!
Eventually they have to give it a go themselves. I am best not to be in the kitchen at this time. I have never shared my kitchen very well (My poor mother I am sure received some lip over this in my early teen years.) But I have had various situations since I left home where I have had to get over this – having children has been one of them!
The other teaching method I use to teach them cooking – especially baking – has been bulk cooking. I cook one, you cook one. The benefits of this is that my hands are busy and I don’t take over and I am busy looking after my own mess so I don’t worry/nag about theirs!
So today Cooks Helper was Jessica. She learnt to roast a chook and vegetables. She did all the chopping. She then learnt to make a custard. I made the tabouli salad (she can already do that). We discussed the thing about cooking a whole meal where you have to do the recipes that need the longest preparation/cooking first and then work your way up to the simplest recipe. Next time Jess is Cooks Helper she will do a roast chicken meal without my help.