In the past, it would be commonplace to see a child helping out in the kitchen with their mother. Grandmothers have passed down recipes and tips to their daughters, and then on to the next generation, for centuries.
However, perhaps the trend died out slightly in the last few decades. At least in the west that is. Countries such as Thailand, and other Southeast Asian nations, continue to ensure that their children know how to cook.
Fortunately, things seem to be changing for the better once again in the US and Europe, as people of all walks of life have found a new interest in home cooking. If you have a youngster who doesn’t seem so keen, what is the best way to get them interested? And also, how do you retain that interest in cooking when there are so many distractions today?
Why has cooking become so popular again?
Of course, cooking never really went out of fashion. People need to eat, and not everyone can afford to go to restaurants or have takeaways regularly.
Television dinners, frozen pizza, convenience meals, instant noodles. These products all contributed to a decline in people wanting, or even needing, to know how to cook meals from scratch.
But then something happened. Suddenly, everywhere you looked there were celebrity chefs. Recipe books on store shelves. Cookery programs on the TV. Cooking blogs on the internet. Everyone went cooking mad, or so it seemed.
The pandemic has also seen a keen rise in people cooking more
With lockdowns and social restrictions stopping many people’s movements over the last 18 months, people started to cook more. Not everyone of course, as Ubereats delivery numbers show.
People chose to cook more at home, learn new recipes, and make the most of a bad situation. While it was difficult to visit a restaurant, it was perfectly ok to make a barbecue in the backyard.
The barbecue grill market is worth over $6 billion worldwide, and many of its biggest fans are in the US. Other people started to cook at home for the first time using recipes found on the internet.
How do you get your teen into cooking?
Perhaps you have a youngster that you would like to cook with, but they aren’t one of the recent cookery converts. Perhaps Minecraft is still far too appealing compared to making chicken massaman. Perhaps not for long though.
There may be ways to get your teen to cook with you if you can get them interested in certain areas. Some great gadgets and appliances may help. Different cooking methods can inspire, as can trying our new ingredients. Then there are the benefits of knowing how to cook.
A career in being a chef can be highly rewarding and satisfying. The average chef in the US makes about $50,000 a year. Being a skilled chef means having the ability to travel and work in establishments all over the world, or even start a restaurant themselves.
New recipes and easy ways to cook them
Cooking can seem complicated to the uninitiated, and many adults cannot put together one proper meal.
Fortunately, there are many ways to make life easier. If you are one of the millions who have purchased an Instant Pot then you could start there. Ask your teen to help make something new such as this Tuscan chicken dish from Corrie Cooks for dinner.
Once they have seen how easy it is to prepare the dish and cook it in an Instant Pot, some of the mystique of cooking may disappear. What could replace it is the thought that they could be trying out some other recipes themselves.
Instant Pots also have the advantage of being safe as the heat is retained inside. This means you won’t have the same concerns as deep fat frying or roasting.
Find out what they like to eat and suggest replicating it
Perhaps your kid has been enjoying something new at a friend’s house recently. Or perhaps they visited a restaurant and tried a new dish that they really liked.
Find out what food they love, and suggest they try to make it home. There will be errors of course, but the satisfaction from creating a meal may lead to a lifelong love of cooking.
Get all the family involved in a barbecue
The summer is the time to really maximize the use of the backyard. Barbecues can be great social events for families to get together with friends.
Creating good food and good times is what barbecue parties are all about, and you can get all your children involved, even the little ones.
The danger with barbecues is that they get hot. First, your teen needs to understand that he or she is responsible along with another adult for taking care of the barbecue. The next issue is to keep the smaller children away, and fortunately, they can get involved in other ways.
Get your teen to learn how to barbecue veggies and meat, while the smaller ones are helping to make salads and squeezing lemons. Ask them for ideas for choosing the best salad vegetables and they will forget there is a very interesting but dangerous BBQ outside.
Make a birthday party with a difference
If you are looking for ways to make a birthday party more memorable, then ask your teen to get involved in the preparation.
Perhaps they will think it’s all a bit of a drag, but if you explain that you need help to prepare all the food because you can’t hold a party otherwise, they should get on board.
Also, they’ll be more than happy telling the guests that they made the party snacks that are being enjoyed.
Tell them about the benefits of knowing how to cook
Unfortunately, teens don’t much like lectures, unless they are very fortunate, so you will have to get the benefits of cooking over to them another way.
Obviously, you can mention how they might become a celebrity chef one day but perhaps start with things more likely to happen.
If you have a son then let him know how much he’ll be able to impress his girlfriend now or in the future by being able to cook. He’ll also never have to rely on takeaways, or other people to supply his food if he knows how to use kitchen appliances.
Knowing how to cook is a practical skill that he or she can carry through life, and bring joy to others too, including their future children.
The actor, Blake Lively, says that she attends a cooking class in every country she visits. She believes it is one of the best ways to understand other people’s culture, and there could be a lot of truth in that.
Food brings people together, especially loved ones. Knowing how to cook means you can feed not only yourself, but your family, and other guests too.
Cooking together with your children means that you are passing on valuable life skills without needing to sit them down for boring lessons. More importantly, though, you will be creating wonderful moments, and memories that will last forever. Although, it is possible you might want to forget some of the cooking if it goes really bad.