Teaching your child to cook: start with the microwave

Filed under: Tweens, Teens, Health & Safety: Babies, Nutrition: Health, Development/Milestones: Babies, Day Care & Education

I think it is important for me to teach my children some self-sufficiency in the kitchen. But I do worry about stove tops, steam, burns, and child safety. So, even though it's questionable whether or not using the microwave is actually "cooking," it still has its uses.

My oldest son, Sam, has been a vegetarian since February. And while we have made a lot of adjustments as a family, there are still nights when we have meat, so he cooks his own dinner. His favorite is a quesadilla made with boca meat: He just takes a tortilla, adds boca meat and cheese and salsa, covers with another tortilla, and then microwaves it for 1-2 minutes. He adds vegetables to this from what we are serving to the family, and has a complete meal.

On most nights, we insist that everyone eat the same foods. But there are times when we make a portabella mushroom ravioli with a sun-dried tomato pesto and we know that even if we have our youngest children try the food, that they are simply going to hate it. On these occasions, we have foods on hand that they can microwave: My youngest, 8.5, loves macaroni and cheese. He also likes to do this with me-- he has me make sure he has filled the water to the correct line, and verifies cooking time (one minute, thirty seconds), and then stirs in his cheese. We don't let him have this very often because it's not good for him to have frequently, but when mixed with vegetables and a glass of milk, it's not the worst thing he could eat either.

And I think it's safer for him to make this in the microwave, than to be boiling noodles on the stove.

What foods did you start having your kids cook? And how old were they?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.