Involve the kids in meal planning. Let them pick out dishes that appeal to them, and develop their interest in cooking and entertaining. Younger children can be offered simple choices—should we have A or B, and which side dishes. Older children can browse through cookbooks—check out Rachel Ray’s 30-Minute Meals For Kids. Discuss dishes with kids at the table: how they like this sauce or spice or food pairing compared or cooking technique compared to others, what foods they might be interested in trying. The next step is to identify regular dishes they may enjoy taking charge of—salads, perhaps, and prepping other ingredients. Check to see if there is a kids’ cooking class in your town. Involving kids in food preparation and teaching basic cooking skills teaches the joy of cooking, lets the kids help out the family in an important way, impresses their friends and ensures that when your children leave home, they know how to do more than order take-out.
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