Now, don’t be alarmed by this photo. Yes, the stove is on and there is actual heat coming from the pan. Generally (apart from the one time I stepped back to take this picture in extreme haste), I am standing — well, hovering is a better term — to make sure that all is safe.
I do let Sam help “cook” some meals, every now and then. When she was younger I would sit her in her high chair and put carrots and whatever other ingredients in front of her that she could poke and grab (Nothing messy, and nothing raw for sure! Plus everything is pre-washed). I’d let her watch me chop ingredients, open cans of sauce, or mix up food for us to eat. It must have stuck, because now she likes to “cook with mommy” and dump mushrooms or cheese or salt and pepper into whatever dish we are making. All the cooking toys she’s received over her birthday and the holidays have supplemented this desire to be in the kitchen further, despite the barriers we’ve put up to keep her safe.
Of course, in cases where we’re frying on high heat where oil can fly in various directions, or I have multiple pans going at once (like with boiling water), then I just let her cry on the opposite side of the kitchen barrier. Sometimes I use the TV to babysit so that I can cook in peace (more on that in a separate post soon), and use her nap time as time for me.
When she cooks with me, it’s a win-win-win situation. We get food on the table, she is not crying her lungs out to be near me, and we are bonding. I get things done while she is awake, and at the same time she feels included in my activities. Call it efficient bonding if you will! Hopefully this exposure will be to her benefit in the long run, and when she grows up, she may actually like to cook!
Disclaimer: This is not for all mommies & children. Please do whatever is safest for your child!