Friday night rolled around and it was approaching dinner time. Alina found me standing in the kitchen with my eyes closed trying to think of what to make for dinner. I heard her sweet little voice through my blackness. "Mom? Can I make dinner tonight?"
I don't force my kids cook. I do ask them if they'd like to help and if they do, great! If not, no problem. They may only do one thing and be on their merry way or they may stay for the entire time. One never knows. But I want them to always feel like the kitchen is a fun place to be and not a chore.
Alina has wanted to make dinner for awhile now, so I asked her what she thought the menu should be. She said something healthy and then dessert.
She chose pasta salad with cooked broccoli, black olives, cucumbers, tomatoes, cut up cubes of cheese all mixed with homemade ranch dressing. The side was sliced apples with the skins cut off and the beverage of choice was banana-blueberry-nectarine smoothies.
She was one determined little chef. She cut up the olives and tomatoes (yes, I do let her use sharp knives under surveillance), mixed up the entire salad and arranged the cut up apples onto plates. She helped blend the smoothies and set all dishes on the table.
Her choice of tableware were my pink dishes which adorned the pink tablecloth which was laden with lit candles (can you tell she loves pink?)
When we were all finished, she voluntarily cleared every one's dishes and I helped her prepare dessert: ice cream with chocolate sauce and multi-colored sprinkles.
We delighted in our feast she had prepared and she was a pretty proud cook at the end of the night. She's becoming more confident in the kitchen and is starting to know her way around. I can ask her for any item and she knows right where it's at. Her cautious side arises too, but she always asks if she's not sure how to do something. She so wants to do everything by herself and I find myself having to put away the thought of, "if I just do it, it'll get done much faster" and let her experience the joy of cooking.
Watch soon for A Weekend in the Kitchen: Episode two.