Let’s start with questions, how many of us love to cook? More important, how many of us know to cook? And most important, How many of us are teaching cooking to our kids?
Apart from the air we breathe, water we drink, one other very important thing we need for our life sustenance is food. Yet, we are so very dependent on others for this source of nutrition and energy. It’s taken up by all the Mothers in the world to provide nutrition. The Fathers didn’t take it up, coz they were not taught to cook as an essential life skill. Coz cooking has never been considered as an important life skill, not certainly as important as learning to speak out, communicate your thoughts, the ability to analyse and take decisions, the ability to dress smart, to be clean and organised.
Why hasn’t it been considered? Coz the men get married and they bring home the wife a.k.a. the cook. It has been quite common “for the girl” to learn cooking coz she’s the bearer of this cooking torch from her mother. But there are also boys who picked up the interest to cook and learnt it. Some learnt it as a survival thing; some were forced to pick up as they travelled for work. But it has not been widely encouraged as it is considered a womanly duty to do so. It’s sexism that has discouraged all those young boys who want to learn this life skill. This is the story of OUR generation who are now already parents.
So what are we actually teaching when we teach the kids to cook?
For the boys; am encouraging my toddler son to observe and learn while I cook. It not only lets me spend time with him, it’s exciting for him to see how the food he eats is getting prepared, in his mind, it’s already a good tasting dish. For a fussy eater like him, cooking excites him and he does enjoy his meal better. Proven fact, my nephew assists my sister in baking, he knows all the ingredients, helps her to mix. He’s less of a fussy eater now. Spending time with me in the kitchen also helps my son, to cross the psychological barrier about cooking. He tells me, he’ll cook for me if I fall sick. Learning to cook also makes him appreciate me for the work I put it; thereby he learns to appreciate women’s work. He gets to be more independent as he would go to higher grades, he could fix his own snack after a school day. Another factor; my husband cooks too, and on those days, he learns that cooking is not only a mother’s job; it is also a father’s. (Side note: Bless the boys, who did learn to cook ;D).
For the girls; well the feminist generation thinks cooking isn’t a skill to learn, coz it has been seen as a ‘why only girls need to do’ kinda thing. They can always hire someone, eat out. It’s liberating for a woman to not think of herself as the cook. But it’s a skill you need to learn for a healthy living. Yes, like I have discussed sexist parents have made it seem like only girls need to learn as a way to be a good homemaker. But we can be different, when we are teaching girls to cook, we are teaching them self-sufficiency, taking charge of food and health, being independent. So when you are teaching your girl, to be her own person, to be a go-getter, do teach her to cook too. I’d appreciate if the fathers help out the mothers in this.
So how do we start, without the fear of fire (burning up the house)? Thanks to technology, we have induction cook tops, ovens and electric cookers now. we can use them to teach your kids to cook basic food items – how to make rice or roti, use a pressure cooker, simple one pot dishes. Include them when you make their favourites. Just encourage them, take their help.
Also, cooking enhances certain other abilities too – the ability to follow instructions by reading recipes, ingredients and proportions helps them with math, enhances their olfactory senses, they’ll learn healthy eating v/s not-so-healthy.
When kids learn to cook, it boosts their confidence as they seem to do a grown up thing, it lets them believe they can do a lot more.
For all those who saw in wonder, the dishes The MasterChef Juniors brought to the table. They all did learn from their parents and elders.
Alright, I said my piece now you can share your view on this topic.