To New Parents,
I am not a parent, and don’t plan on being one for many years. What I am is the product of many years of good, hard guesswork. Because I was the first child of two people who never really had complete homes, I was an experiment. Some things they go wrong, most they got right. And I’m sure parenting is no easier for people with both parents present the entire time. So, this is for you, mom with a screaming baby in your arms, and you, dad who has to change his first diaper. This is a tip that may one day save your life.
Teach your children to cook. And start them early.
Now, I know what some of you are saying. “The kitchen is full of dangerous knives!” and “I’m not letting my precious baby anywhere near fire!” But, you see, that is exactly my point! I have seen too many of my peers who are afraid to cook. They aren’t comfortable handling hot pans and razor-sharp knives, so they can’t cook. And it’s sad, because food is art that anybody can make. Taste is subjective. People who can cook, truly cook, can put the taste of their soul into the food. The first time you taste a loving crafted recipe by a loved one, it’s a sensual experience. When they have poured hours into creating the perfect dish, you can taste what they like. When they show you what spices make their mouth water and what flavors make they close their eyes in ecstasy, you cannot help but become closer.
So don’t deprive your children of this. When they come tottering into the kitchen, asking what Daddy is doing, as curious children are apt to do, don’t shoo them, include them. Explain what you are doing, what you are creating, for their enjoyment. Let them stir a pot or two, wash a vegetable or a fruit. When they grow, give them a knife and let them help. Have them cook you food as they develop their own taste and style. You never know what you might learn.
Cooking also fosters independence. Your children depend on you for three things; food, water, and shelter. When they can provide nutritious and delicious food for themselves, they will become more mature. They will respect you for what you did for them for so many years. Cooking is liberating, but it will also bring the family together. Who could say no to a sit down dinner your son made, just for you? Nobody, that’s who.
Take it from me. If you teach your children to cook, you will give them a skill that last for a lifetime. Because even if you give a man a fish, he still needs to know how to cook it.