Taste a memory

Welcome to the November Carnival of Natural Parenting: Kids in the Kitchen
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how kids get involved in cooking and feeding. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
If I can leave my children one legacy, it will be that they can cook. It won’t be me who teaches them to fix a puncture or start a fire with just sticks. But I will ensure that they graduate from my care able to not only sustain themselves, but thrive with flair and health, woo potential partners and entertain future friends.

For me cooking and good food is my heritage, it runs in my blood, and not to pass this on to my children would be a failure at the most basic level.

One incident crystalised this intention for me, long before I had children of my own. A flatmate I had at University, on her first day alone in her own house, finally a grown up out on her own in the world, came towards me, grasping a potato as though it were an alien life form, and asked, in all seriousness, “how do I cook this?”

Cooking is not a moral imperative – you can survive or thrive on a raw diet, on ready meals, or on a family who cooks for you. But like learning to drive it gives you freedom, like learning to sing, it gives you creative expression.

My children cook with me pretty much every day – cupcakes, cookies, pizza, fruit salad, mushroom soup, bread, popcorn – these are our favourite things to cook – and eat – together. Chopping, mixing, whisking, kneading, rubbing – my children have cooked alongside me since they were old enough to hold a spoon.

I remember like it was yesterday the first thing I cooked all by myself. The crisp juiciness of the apple sprinkled with sugar and the revelation for my seven-year-old self: nutmeg! With its almost citrusy exotic Christmas smell,  its tiny wood shavings snowing down from the mini-grater onto the virginal white apple pieces beneath. I have never eaten it before or since. But it was the taste not only of a new flavour sensation, but of freedom, of creativity, of feeding myself my way.

My son experienced this this summer aged just five. He snuck off one evening whilst we were out in the garden, to make a tray of his very own recipe Rose Lemonade, to serve to the whole family. He then set up a stall outside his room with a hand written “Open/closed” sign and a tray of drinks to “sell”. This, I know, will stay with him until adulthood – the taste of a memory, that he created all by himself.
Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon November 8 with all the carnival links.)