Sherry Brubaker is a wife and mother of three, who started the food blog Sea Salt Savorings to share her favorite recipes inspired by her proud Italian heritage. We asked her about some ways to make cooking with kids fun and safe.
“When I was a kid, he would always make us eat, and everything was always centered around the kitchen,” she said.
Brubaker, a mother of three, ranging from 10 to toddler, wanted to spark that passion for food in her children as well. So from start to finish, meal time is family time in the Brubaker household.
“My kids play a part in what I cook and picking out the recipes, and they’ve grown to be quite the foodies themselves,” she said.
For other parents who want to get their kids involved in the kitchen, Brubaker shared some tips to make sure everyone has fun, stays safe, and feels good about the meal created.
The family that cooks together
Before doing anything, Brubaker says it’s critical to give your kids a good foundation of kitchen safety education, such as knowing knives are sharp, the stove is hot, and instructions must be followed.
“They need to know what they can and can’t touch immediately,” she said.
Once the rules are clearly defined, Brubaker and her kids start every culinary excursion by choosing a recipe.
“I let my kids kind of take the reins on that,” she said. “We pick a recipe that is within their scope of practice, so to speak.”
With a recipe chosen, Brubaker’s team divides up age-appropriate tasks. For instance, her 10-year-old is game to chop simple vegetables, and her 3-year-old will help out by pouring ingredients into measuring cups.
“Dividing up those tasks at the beginning really amps them up and gives them a lot of excitement, because it makes them feel responsible and included,” Brubaker said. “It also eliminates any kind of guesswork.”
With jobs assigned, Brubaker says it’s time to turn on some music, do a little dancing, and get to work. In her kitchen, she oversees the operation and takes care of the more difficult tasks, but for the most part, she takes a hands-off approach.
“I’ll guide them as necessary, but I want to let them take as much control as they can,” Brubaker said.
Once finished preparing the meal, it’s time to dig in and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
“That’s the all-important last step,” Brubaker said. Check out some of Brubaker’s favorite kid-friendly recipes at seasaltsavorings.com/category/cooking-method/kid-approved/.