I love cooking with my son. It gives me an opportunity to bond with him at the end of the day, which is great since I am at work all day. I’ve written about the reasons why cooking with kids is great, and now I want to focus on how cooking with kids can help foster a love of the different cultures in our home.
Growing up, I always heard things like “Boys don’t belong in the kitchen.” Or the reverse, “Girls belong in the kitchen.” I hated hearing that, and I want Enzo to know that men can cook too. (As a matter of fact, his dad loves to cook!) So, another reason I love him to be in the kitchen with me is because I want to break down the stereotypes that only women can or should cook.
Cooking also allows me to pass along the great food that I remember growing up with, and also encourages Enzo to try foods from France (his dad’s land) and Ecuador (his grandparents’ country.) I love using our time in the kitchen to build vocabulary and spark his creativity.
At home I try to cook things that are easy to make and fun. When I’m cooking every day foods like marinating chicken or fish, I have to make sure I measure out the ingredients so that Enzo doesn’t dump the entire bottle of spices into the meat!
Maybe you’re thinking that your child is too small to do anything in the kitchen, but with a little bit of imagination, you will find something for your LO to do! Here are some things that Enzo has done:
- Pulling the stems off strawberries
- Adding seasoning to meat (fish and chicken)
- Sprinkling cheese on top of gratins (casserole-like dishes)
- Breaking eggs
- Washing veggies
- Mashing potatoes
- Pressing the buttons on the blender
- Removing grapes from the stems
- Pounding the meat
- Stirring or whisking (anything!)
- Mixing ingredients in a bowl
One thing to remember: Things will get messy! Don’t be afraid to get messy, and to let your kid get messy!
I leave you with some of Enzo’s favorite meals (to cook and eat!)
- For the French side: One of the things I love to make is quiche. Quiches are super easy to make! And Enzo loves to eat the Quiche Lorraine! I discovered that this quiche is one of those recipes that you can play around with and still have a delicious dish. Here is a quick recipe I came up with after adding a bunch of different online recipes. I like this because I was able to use what was in my pantry and fridge (which sometimes is not a lot since I am really bad at food shopping!) Some recipes call for onions and some ask you to cook the bacon and then put it in the quiche, but like I said, the quiche is delicious without all those extra steps.
This is what I used:
- Ready to roll out Pie crust
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 5 eggs
- Pinch salt and pepper
- 1 package of diced pancetta (or bacon)
- 1 cup of shredded cheese
- Whisk the eggs and cream, add cheese, salt and pepper, mix gently. Set aside.
- Line the pie dish with parchment paper,
- Roll out the pie crust on dish, prick the bottom with your fork,
- Add pancetta on bottom
- Then add the egg mixture on top.
- Bake at 400 degree F for about 30 minutes
If you need more direction, please check out this recipe by one of my favorite French chefs, Jacques Pépin.
- For the American side, we love to make pancakes. I love Martha Stewart’s Easy Basic pancake recipe. To add a special touch, I add mini chocolate chips and of course, we make them in Mickey Mouse shapes.
- Finally, for the Ecuadorian side, I am sharing Laylita Pujol’s pan de yuca recipe. Pan de yuca is not something Enzo and I have made yet, BUT it does bring back fond memories of my childhood. It is something that easy to make, delicious and it is on my list of “must-try” recipes with Enzo.
Finally, I also have to share this “Come y bebe” recipe, also by Laylita. Come y bebe is a wonderful type of fruit salad that is made with fresh juice and cut up fruit, so you drink it and eat at the same time, hence the name, “come y bebe” which literally means “eat and drink.” I’d venture to say that you could probably add other fruit than the ones listed, altering by what is available to you locally and what is in season!
Let’s chat! Do you cook with your kids? Why? What are your favorite recipes? Share your links below! Also, share pics of the yummy dishes and your kids in action! Share your posts with the hashtag #MKBKidsCook =)
Diana Limongi is a Latina New Yorker with proud Ecuadorian roots, married to a Frenchman. She is mommy to Enzo, a French/Hispanic/European/American trilingual toddler. She and her husband are committed to raising their son in a multilingual and multicultural environment.
Diana works hard juggling a full-time job, motherhood, family, grad school and her blog, LadydeeLG where she writes about issues she is passionate about: Motherhood, raising her multilingual son, Latino and women’s issues, and food and travel.
Diana is part of the Moms Rising Good Food Force. She is a contributor at Hispana Global, Latinamom.me and has has also contributed to Mamiverse, SpanglishBaby, Sofrito for your Soul, Scary Mommy and the now defunct NBC Latino. She loves connecting with her readers via Twitter and Facebook.
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