One of the greatest gifts you can give your kids is teaching them to cook. Not a last minute “here’s how you use a can opener dear” when they’re 17 and about to leave home. A real and lasting knowledge of how a kitchen works. What ingredients to use.  How to use and prepare real ingredients. How to plan a meal. How to use foods as they come into season and not always be relying on out of season foods flown half-way around the world.

Teaching your kids to cook from an early age is a fantastic way to build this knowledge in them. Let them cook alongside you. So it may take some extra time to put that meal on the table, but view that extra time as an investment in their future.

The apprentice has cooked with me since she was a toddler just big enough to reach the kitchen worktop standing on a stool. She started out with a little veg knife, cutting up carrots and brocolli. Breaking the eggs into a bowl for me. Using a peeler to peel potatoes and carrots. Weighing ingredients and measuring liquids in a measuring jug.

The progression onto the harder jobs comes naturally. Before you know it, they are making stir-fries and cheesecakes, soups and lasagnas.

Today the apprentice is cooking dinner. She has been looking through the cook books and has decided on homemade burgers with salad, followed by homemade meringues with cream and fruit. 🙂   Granted – the salad and the fresh fruit for the meringues aren’t “in season” foods right now, but she is aware of that and knows that they are luxury items at this time of year.

Already at 10 years old, she is more than capable of preparing a meal for us. I know that when the time comes for her to leave home, she will be equipped with the knowledge of how to feed herself (and a family one day) well and economically. Now there’s an inheritance for my grandchildren! 🙂

Can your kids cook? Tell us about their favourites recipes here