As you prepare your children to leave the nest eventually (not that you can bear the thought!), basic cooking skills are some of the most important lessons they need to learn. Along with being able to feed themselves, knowing how to cook also helps your kids feel confident in themselves and their abilities — even if they’re on the shy side.
Here are 10 kitchen skills children should know that also build confidence.
1. Cooking Pasta
Pasta is an affordable, simple ingredient that you can use for many types of meals. Teach them how much water to boil, how long pasta typically takes to cook and a few different ways they can serve it. From shrimp alfredo to spaghetti and meatballs, your child can whip up several types of pasta dishes in less than an hour.
2. Browning Meat
Learning to cook meat the whole way through is a critical cooking skill, as under-cooked meat can cause illnesses. Cover all the fundamental proteins, including chicken, beef, pork and fish. You can also teach your child how to prepare a few easy side dishes to go with the meat, like a vegetable and a starch.
3. Preparing Casseroles and Other One-Dish Meals
One-pot meals like casseroles are perfect for kids looking to cook because they’re simple but can still be delicious and nutritious. They’ll love being able to layer their ingredients and bake them all in the same dish — that means less cleanup, too!
4. Cracking a Lobster
Whether you live in New England or love lobster so much that you have it shipped to you, teaching your kids how to crack a lobster is a fun way to take their diet and cooking skills up a notch. They’ll feel great knowing they can order a lobster when they’re out with friends or on a date (yes, a date – hard to imagine now, right?) and be able to eat it properly.
5. Scrambling Eggs
Scrambling is by far the easiest way to make eggs, so you can start teaching this skill to your young children. Once they’ve mastered it, you can consider also showing them how to fry, boil and even poach eggs — this is another low-cost ingredient you can do a lot with!
6. Using Knives Correctly
Though the idea of your child using a knife may be a little nerve-wracking, it’s an essential culinary skill that they need to master before they can make most dishes. As long as you teach them how to use a knife safely, you won’t have to worry about them cutting themselves or needing stitches.
7. Making a Salad
You can’t go wrong with a fresh salad — it’s tasty, healthy and completely customizable. Teach your kids that salads are great because they’re easy to make, and they can choose to include only the ingredients they like.
8. Seasoning Dishes Properly
The art of using the right amount of spices and seasonings is one that can be difficult for even the most experienced chefs to master. If you start teaching this concept to your kids in their early years, they’ll certainly get the hang of it as they enter adulthood.
9. Baking Cookies or Brownies
Of course, we can’t forget about dessert! Even if they make them out of a box or using a pre-made mix, your kids will love baking their own cookies or brownies — and they’ll enjoy eating them even more. Indulging in baked goods that they made themselves will also teach them to appreciate them much more.
10. Cleaning the Kitchen
It’s not enough to teach your kids how to cook — they also need to know how to clean up after themselves. Show them how to clean cutting boards, cooking utensils and dishware, so no grease or food is leftover. Nothing is worse than half-washed pots and pans.
Even if your child doesn’t seem interested in learning to cook, it’s an important part of setting them up for success in the future. These 10 basic culinary skills are great places to start.
Kacey Bradley is the lifestyle and travel blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Along with writing for her blog, she frequently writes for sites like US Travel News, Thought Catalog, Style Me Pretty, Tripping.com and more! Follow Kacey on Twitter and subscribe to her blog to keep up with her travels and inspiring posts!