Kitchen as Classroom
Going “back to school” at the end of summer vacation is like a second new year’s celebration and ritual for me. No matter how old I get, early September still means a new start, another chance, new resolutions. There is something rejuvenating about it.
This year “back to school” is my reminder to get back in touch with the kids in my life. And, there’s no better way to reconnect than to do a project together in the kitchen.
Whether it’s baking cookies, grilling fish or chopping vegetables, cooking with kids is an opportunity to talk with them about how the world works and doesn’t-where our dinner was grown, who’s involved in its production, harvesting and processing, how it’s shipped, and what goes into its marketing and sale. Cooking is a great way to reinforce school curriculum – geography, history, science, math; they’re all there. And food also facilitates thoughtful discussions regarding ethical behavior, geopolitics, social justice and more.
I know you’re thinking: “Chef Johnny has really gone off the deep end this time; I haven’t got time for this?”
It can be difficult to work with the little darlings – they’ll likely fuss and complain about having to help and they’ll probably make a big mess of your kitchen. But hey, it’s important and it’s worth the investment! You’re not just teaching a valuable life skill – how to cook, you’re sharing your values about some of the most complicated issues in the world around us. There’s also a bonus in it for you. You’ll learn more about what’s going on in your children’s lives in the process. Sometimes gathering even the scantest intelligence regarding what they are up to, even when it is only minutes before they actually do the really bone-headed thing they’ve been planning, can help you avoid a huge disaster. So, you see, this is actually going to save you time in the long run.
Until next time – ¡Mucho Gusto!, ¡Muchas Gracias! y ¡Buen Provecho!
*Tells us about a teachable moment in your life, share your experience cooking with kids, ask a question or suggest a topic for a future article – contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.muchogusto.com and join our food forum.