This is a week when many schools in Canada are closed for March break and a good time to cook at home and involve children, says food writer and cookbook author Julie Van Rosendaal. She says there are many reasons why it’s not that common for Canadian parents to cook with their children.
People feel lives too busy
“There are so many convenience foods, packaged foods, food-delivery services,” she says. “We’re constantly being told by big food companies that we don’t have time to cook, that we should spend more quality time with our kids by going to a restaurant or ordering in.
“So a lot of people feel like their too busy and they…buy into these conveniences and wind up not teaching their kids these essential life skills.”
Van Rosendaal says there are great benefits beyond the obvious learning to cook when children are involved.
“My son doesn’t love it when I sit him down at the table and ask how his day was. He’ll say ‘fine’ or ‘good.’ But when we’re in the kitchen together, we’re together but we’re also doing something else, I find he tends to talk a lot more. So, I think it’s really great way to spend more time with your kids everyday.”
Math and science skills learned in cooking, says writer
Van Rosendaal says children are naturally creative and even the young can do things like measure, knead, and even learn how to use a knife.
She likes to involve older children in projects that are now popular on social media like cake decorating or she says they may be interested in making starters for sour dough and learning how to make wild yeast from the environment.
Government encourages children’s involvement
They can learn a bit about science this way and math through measuring ingredients and following recipes. And Van Rosendaal suggests taking children to the library to peruse cookbooks and says one may be surprised by the kinds of recipes children choose.
The food made at home is usually healthier and the government of Canada encourages involving children in food preparation. And Van Rosendaal says cooking with the kids is “a really great way to spend screen-free time with your kids.”
Julie Van Rosendaal explains the benefits of cooking with one’s children and how to get started.Listen