A few months back I wrote about the importance of cultivating the next generation of mini-chefs in the post, Top Reasons Why Kids Need to be in the Kitchen. In the article, I made the connection between the outsourcing of food preparation to restaurants and drive-thrus’s and the deterioration of our air, soil and water quality. When we cook our food, we are in control of the source of our ingredients. As we become engaged with the purchase of each ingredient, we have the power to support farmers and food producers who are stewards of the land and water.
But…another good reason to teach our kids to cook is they eventually will cook without you. As I spent a recent afternoon writing, my two eldest kids, Isabella (12) and Joaquin (9) worked as a mighty team to make two varieties of cookies. Isabella called Joaquin, “the voice activated, Kitchen Aid mixer,” as his duties included holding the hand held mixer and fetching ingredients. Isabella was the chief pastry chef. I placed the cookie sheets in my 70-year old oven, my only job.
Isabella and Joaquin made peanut butter cookies using the organic peanut butter made from freshly pressed peanuts at Whole Foods. They used a recipe from My Nepenthe cookbook for the peanut butter cookies. They watched a youtube tutorial video on their school-issued iPad to make the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. For the oatmeal cookies, they swapped the white flour for the brown rice flour I brought home from Cajun Grain Farms in Kinder, Louisiana. They used the fair traded, organic chocolate chips I keep in a mason jar in the pantry.
We wrapped small bundles of cookies in recycled parchment paper tied in twine to give to neighbors. Isabella added the final touch, a stamp that said, “Life is a great bundle of little things.”
Eat less water at the kitchen table. There is power in the collective.