Cooking with Kids — NOT for the faint of heart

Who decided that it was a good idea to try cooking with your kids?  I can’t stand cooking with my kids.  It’s supposed to be grand fun, measuring the sugar and cracking the eggs together.   Supposedly your kids will be more likely to eat dinner if they had a hand in preparing it.  And don’t forget the photo op when you are all looking so adorable and happy wearing aprons covered in flour.

No thanks.  This morning I had a simple list of “to dos” for the kitchen.  I wanted to get some dinner into the crockpot (easy squeezy), pickle some veggies (much easier than you might think), and I had promised the boys that we would bake a peppermint chocolate loaf from Trader Joe’s.

Let’s just say that by the end of the morning, I felt like I would rather pluck my own eyelashes out than do anything in the kitchen again with my kids.  Maybe it works well when your kids are a little older?  I don’t know.   Baking works okay with kids this age.  I measure the goods, they take turns pouring them in a bowl.  They each get 10 stirs with the big spoon.  Shove it in the oven.  Done.

But cooking?  Cooking often requires some amount of timeliness.  Here are the highlights of getting the chile in the crockpot.  I put the poblanos into the toaster oven to broil.  Behind me Isaiah pulls out some extra foil.   No big deal.  I’m so patient.  So loving.  I remind him that he’s not allowed to play with the foil, roll it back up and put it away.   Then to chop an onion. Isaiah stands next to me, with a butter knife, clumsily hitting around at the onion I’m chopping.  I try to avoid his hand.  Lots of onion ends up on the floor.

Gryffin decided that he would rather work on his legos than help with the crockpot stuff because the poblanos looked “yucky.”   Within 10 minutes he was crying because he couldn’t find a crucial piece.   I was still feeling magnanimous, though.  I helped him find a few pieces because I’m awesome like that.

While I’m putting the beans on the stove to simmer, Isaiah decides to run his hands through the coffee grounds by the grinder.  His hands were covered in fine grounds.  So was the floor.  He rubbed them on his shirt.  Then on mine.

The onions were now on the stove and Isaiah was in charge of stirring them.  Gryffin decided he wanted to do some stirring, too. They argued which entailed Isaiah flinging the hot onions all about while trying to push brother away from the stove.  Chaos ensued.  Don’t worry, it was all very safe.

While Isaiah continued stirring and Gryffin sullenly returned to his legos, I started peeling the poblanos.  Isaiah left the onions and came to stand next to me, rubbing his hands all over the poblanos declaring,  “they slimy.”   I asked him to stop so I can chop them.  He didn’t stop.  I asked him again to PLEASE. STOP.   He starts crying.  I explain in my patient-but-now-bordering-on-hysterical voice why I need to chop the poblanos without his oh-so-helpful help.  He returned to the onions, now burned, sulking and sniffling.

Both boys “helped” me add the garlic and the spices.  We transfered it all to the crockpot, added the other ingredients and both boys declared that they don’t like chile and won’t eat any of it for dinner.  To which I responded, “see if I care!  you can just skip dinner tonight!” because I’m very mature.

Realizing that we were losing speed (and patience) fast, I decided to start the chocolate loaf.  In my head, I had envisioned having Gryffin read the recipe out loud to us.   And I was going to teach the boys about measurements and what not while we worked but after Isaiah spilled his drink and Gryffin dropped the vase of flowers in the sink, I was done.  I just read and measured everything myself and let them dump it in the bowl, all the while Gryffin saying, “It’s a good thing you have your boys here to help you, Mama.  This would be really hard to do all by yourself.”   R i g h t.

I threw the stupid loaf in the oven and I made them their lunch.

Occupied with their lunch the boys thankfully lost a little interest when it came to the pickling.  I was mostly on my own with the mandolin slicer, thank the stars, and only managed to slice my own finger in the process.   Ugh.

Until next time, folks.  Which at this rate won’t be until 2018, at the earliest.  


For those of you with young kids… do you cook with them?  Are you more patient that I am?   What am I doing wrong?