Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Sometimes we sleep in on Sunday mornings and opt to go an early afternoon church service. This past Sunday was one of those times. When we do this, we make sure to eat lunch before we go. My wife usually makes a decent lunch for us. Else, I drop hot dogs in boiling water. One way or another, we get it done.

However, as my older son is now a teenager, my wife and I have pushed him a little bit to learn a few things and become self-sufficient in the kitchen. It’s not like he can’t fend for himself. Like any kid, he can make cereal or peanut butter sandwiches. I also taught him how to make cinnamon toast in the toaster oven. Still, there’s one challenge we hadn’t let him try yet.

We’d yet to let him use the stove.

About a month ago, though, I pulled a bag of yakisoba noodles and a can of green beans from the pantry and we started with the most basic of all things.

1. Boil water.
2. Dump in noodles.
3. Stir and wait a few minutes.
4. Drain pan.

And that’s it. Of course, with yakisoba, you also add flavor packets. (And my son likes green beans in his yakisoba, which is why we cooked them on the side.) Still, even with the green beans, it’s a pretty simple dish to make.

Now, I realize that noodles like this aren’t the most healthy of foods and canned green beans don’t add much more. However, given that most college students live on the dried noodles that they can cook in their dorm, I figured that teaching him how to prepare his own noodles will give him a leg up on other students and the impetus to learn more.

And so, on this past Sunday when it was time to make lunch, I handed him the noodles and told him to have at it.

“Can I cook green beans, too?”

I decided against it, as I wasn’t going to be watching him for the first time. Still, knowing he needed veggies, he asked if there was any leftover broccoli in the fridge that he could throw in. He then got to work, paying attention to what he was doing. And, as he sat down to eat, he was happy and I was proud. We will have to work on other items (mac and cheese comes to mind), but I know we’ll expand his repertoire soon.

And, if you think this is crazy, remember the following proverb.

Cook for your child and your child eats a meal.

Teach a child to cook and you don’t have to get off the couch.


Jody Hedlund said...

I LOVE that proverb!! :-) I'm not as good with teaching my oldest son to cook, although he did make chocolate pies for Easter this year and can do a pan of brownies when he's desperate enough. But having twin daughters just a couple years younger than him makes it all to easy to skip over him in favor of my daughters who catch on to the cooking quicker (and are a LOT neater).

Karen Roderick said...

Oh, how I long for the day they can cook for themselves (or is this just wishful thinking??)

Jennifer Shirk said...

Now we're talking. I can't wait to teach my kidlet to cook.