I grew up in a family where meals always consisted of at least two entrees and a few different side dishes. And nobody ever forgot dessert. Food has always been such an important part of my life, my family, and it is such a joy to now be cooking and baking alongside my own kids, in particular, 4 year old Boo.
While my husband and I both love cooking, we also bake quite a bit at our house. Boo has been baking alongside me since he was about 2.5 years old, stirring, mixing in ingredients, adding toppings. Now that he’s 4, he’s helping me crack the eggs into the mix, measure ingredients, and just do more overall to help with the process. He loves being in the kitchen with me, and I truly love playing the role of teacher to this excited little baker.
This week we’ve made chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes and today, banana bread. He’s starting to help decide what ingredients will go well with the dishes, since we use recipes as guidelines and give them our own little spin that works better for our family’s taste. Today we mixed in apples into the banana bread and topped it with chocolate chips. Next time, he says we’ll add apples AND pears. He gave today’s bread a thumbs up.
So now he’s slowly been helping me more with cooking in addition to our usual baking time together. We’ve done lots of baking together the past few years, but when I’m cooking he might just help set the table or throw in an ingredient I’ve already prepped. I’m thinking he’s ready to do more now, but I’m not yet ready to hand over a knife for him to chop up veggies or anything (today he forgot he was holding crayons and ended up coloring on our countertops; chopping veggies, he is not yet ready for!). I’m thinking he can help roll out pizza dough, help measure ingredients with me now…maybe grate cheese?
If anyone has ideas about things that a 4-year-old can help with in terms of cooking meals, please let me know! I’m excited to engage him further into the world of cooking and not just baking!