Cooking with Our Mothers, Cooking with Our Children

Did you learn to cook in the kitchen with your mother (or father)? I am so glad that mine not only taught me, but explained why she did things a certain way.

I try to do the same with my children and they often surprise me with their skills and knowledge. My teens bake and can make some dishes that they especially like, including pizza and avocado salad. My 8-year-old enjoys flipping pancakes. And I avoid making challah if no one is around to help.

Of course, kids don’t wake up one day knowing how to cook. Small children start by watching, then learn to stir, count, measure, and pour. They learn cleanup and safety rules. My little one cracked eggs and separated the yolk from the white when she was three. We have had our share of accidents and spills, but those happen to adults too.

Sometimes you just want to cook without interruption. Those are the times to plan your cooking session, or at least the more complicated parts, for when your kids are asleep or someone else is watching them.

If you have children, how have you gotten your children involved in cooking? What memories do you have of cooking as a child?


  1. Nice post! I try to encourage my children to make what they like. So middle son often makes the batter for matza balls, and my daughter likes forming the balls and putting them in the soup. Both my boys can make desserts without supervision. My eldest likes making schnitzel, but we have to wait until Fridays are longer before we have time to do that again.

    I remember my mother getting me the recipes and the ingredients for recipes. As a young teen I was making lasagne and chocolate mousse, because those were my favorites. I don’t remember if my mother did it with us, however.

    • So Leora, you just followed a cookbook and asked your mother to get what you need? I somehow edited out fathers in the final draft. Thanks for reminding me to put it back. My own father’s role in the kitchen was to make himself a cup of tea if no one else was available. My husband helps, but mostly by cleaning up. He does do French toast when he sees we have a good supply of old bread.

  2. One more detail – you forgot to mention fathers. My father cooked the best Sunday morning eggs, and I must have learned from him. My husband does Sunday morning breakfast with the kids, often French toast but sometimes pancakes.

  3. I have some very early memories of cooking with my mom when I was about 3, but by the time I was 5 or 6 it wasn’t so much fun any more. She was the sort of person who got really upset about every little thing and wanted perfection from little hands. I grew up thinking I hated cooking.

    By the time my eldest was a toddler I’d discovered cooking as art on my own. I realized that I really liked making things that my friends and loved ones could enjoy. When my eldest was little, I never really let him help me, because I didn’t want to get into the fights I remembered with my mom. But, by the time he was older, we were homeschooling and I’d learned to chill out about a lot of things, cooking became something that we did together a lot. He became the bread making expert in our family, and cooking time became a time for interesting conversations in the kitchen.

    He’s all grown up now and is an amazing and creative cook. Now he talks about how he wants to teach his young son to cook. The little guy will have to learn how to walk first, though… 🙂

    • Lisha, my mother was also a perfectionist. She didn’t expect anything age-inappropriate and didn’t get angry, but wanted things done her way only (which, of course, was the best for the most part and you are all benefitting). I’m glad you broke that “cycle.”

  4. I had my kids bake & cook with me from when they were little, but they have taught me at least as much. I never made an omelet in my life until my daughter showed me how at age 10 (having learned from watching Food Network). And that’s just one example.


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