I feel like there were certain things I actually helped cook when I was little and some things mom just set me on the counter and fed me pieces of and I “helped.” So between Pinterest and Buzzfeed and the cooking class I’ve been taking at the library I’ve been thinking about a few things that I think are better to make with kids than others.
So today in the library cooking class (at the James L. Hamner Public Library in Amelia, if you’re in the area come to programs there they rock!) a whole lot of people didn’t show up so another group was consolidated with my group and somehow I remain the adult in these situations despite my protests. So instead of me and my two adopted children who are older teens, I had 2 older teens and 2 younger siblings of one of the teens and they all wanted to get their hands all over everything or get in the way or do nothing at all and leave me to do all the work in turn. It wasn’t actually so bad because they have all been informed I have permission to beat them (in the most loving of ways) and they have to listen to me but the youngest was 11 and I mean….they’re teen boys. Nuf said. On the menu for this week was a hamburger and rice casserole and a kinda-sorta-paprikash-thing which we made because the librarian picked something that used mostly the same ingredients as the other one since that’s what we had. So for the paprikash we made meatballs which is a food that I think everyone should do hands on at least once just for funzies.
Making meatballs with children (or younger teens) is super fun! Silly fun when they’re little and funny fun when they’re older since they understand that they are about to put their hands in raw hamburger and eggs among other things. I have a beautiful pictures somewhere on my old computer and on the internet which I’ll have to track down of two of my friends in college and their first time making meatballs and their faces when they stuck their hands in the meat to mix everything together. The youngest today didn’t even want to touch the meat at first but then he started getting into it and they were all playing with it. It was a little messy but fun! And then rolling them into balls is a good easy thing for kids to practice doing. You would not believe how many foods involve rolling into 1 in balls. Too many!
Another thing that I know I helped with alot when i was little were cookies. Everybody who makes sense loves cookies! And what with all the recipes for mason jar cookie mixes out now you don’t even have to buy prepackaged cookie mix if you don’t want to. I’m totally fine with either, I still use cake mix to make delicious chocolate cookies and I tend to buy brownie mix when I make brownies. Regardless, kids love to bake and they love to get covered in the dough as well as eat it. Messy foods are the best things to cook with kids as long as it’s not pasta sauce and doesn’t stain!
Now ignoring what I just said about stains, Pizzas. Whether you want to go the simple way and use pre-made crusts or even flattened canned biscuits so there are individual pizzas or you want to decorate the whole pizza together or even make the pizza dough yourself, pizzas are fun. And pizza would be a great valentines day cooking event since you can cut the crust into hearts (and maybe even the pepperonis). Putting toppings on pizza is about as simple as it gets but it’s also a work of art! I like to make faces on my pizzas even though it doesn’t distribute the toppings evenly at all. And sometimes you can put new toppings out which might inspire your kids to try something new (or in my case my sister) or maybe just something crazy like french fries. There’s a pizza place in Richmond which sells meatball and french fry pizza and it is one of the best pizzas ever.