Cooking with mom is one of my kids’ favorite pastimes! So, even on those days when I reeeeeeally don’t wanna cook, having my munchkins swarm me in the kitchen, “helping” me with everything, makes it worthwhile.
Memories of Cooking…and More
Some of my fondest memories of growing up have been in the kitchen. My great-grandmother, “Mimi,” cooked all day long. From our huge, daily country breakfasts with all the fixins through hearty lunches to scrumptious down-home, farm style suppers, she was a cooking maniac. My favorite portion of all that cooking was always the desserts (Go figure). That is where I began my lifelong love of baking. Mimi taught me, first to make cakes and then we went on to cookies and more. I learned a great deal about the art of baking from her, however, being the sneaky lady that she was, I also learned a great deal about life. We talked about everything under the sun while we were adding ingredients and stirring and pouring and licking the bowl (of course).
When I look back today on my cooking memories, they are always tangled up with life lessons that I learned at her hands. Clearly, she knew what she was doing.
I’ve learned so much over the years of cooking with her as well as my grandmother, “mamaw.” And I learned more from my mom, (while my mom is a terrific cook, she is the first to say that she prefers ordering…tee hee hee). Those lessons are so important and those memories are so strong that I’ve always wanted that for my children as well. …and thus the madness ensued.
Learning Through Experience
Now, I will mention that I have been raising a total of 5 of those munchkins over the past 24 years, so I’ve had a lot of time to adapt… My oldest began with cookies and very quickly, at the ripe old age of 9, became a master of the chocolate chip cookie. From there he went on to creating his own concoctions like his famous home fries in every possible flavor! My daughter began helping in the kitchen at about 4 or 5 years old. She became proficient at making full meals by the age of 8. And now my boys are cooking with mom every chance they get …and learning …and loving it.
A New Generation of Learning
As a homeschooling mom, I always try to sneak in school every chance I get, as life is the best platform for education. So they learn fractions and all kinds of math, really. They learn reading comprehension by attempting to fully understand the ins and outs of the various recipes and cooking methods. They also get to practice a life skill that they will forever have in their knowledge banks. Even more, my boys get the chance to grow and recognize their own talents and achievements through what they are able to accomplish.
But my favorite part of the whole thing is the conversation that it allows. It may sound a little silly or out there, but, when we are in the kitchen, cooking together, my boys open up. They talk. They listen. About anything and everything. I can see the same expression in their sweet faces as I remember on my own face when I was in their place.
Maybe it’s really not the cooking at all. Maybe it’s just the opportunity for real conversation…and the cooking just gives us something to do with our hands.
I pray that I am always able to find those special moments and events, throughout our lives, that can offer the opportunity for that same level of closeness and conversation; regardless of the activity. I pray that my children find that same joy in those conversations and take those life lessons with them throughout their lives. And I pray that they pass those same lessons down to their children as well.