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Cooking with children is a viable way of teaching them how to make a meal, as well as teaching them the importance of kitchen safety. The best tips for cooking with kids is to inform them of all rules and to select something simple to cook. Adults will have to make sure that the kitchen is properly prepared to receive the children as well. Always keep in mind that children's palates can be both open to new flavors, but also extremely discriminatory, so having a range of taste options is also a good idea.
Before cooking, inform the children of all kitchen safety rules. Good rules to have include no running around in the kitchen, and no playing with cooking items. Make sure to keep all knives and sharp instruments away from the kitchen counter, out of the reach of children. When cooking with older children, there may be items that may need to be sliced and diced. Take this opportunity to teach them the proper way to handle knives.
Going through a cookbook with the kids to select a dish that will be interesting to cook is a great way to give the kids ownership. When cooking with children, make sure to select something that requires relatively simple ingredients with straightforward preparations. This will allow the children to easily follow along while the cooking is being done.
Kitchen preparation is important when it comes to cooking with children. Children tend to be robust, and are keen to topple things over, potentially getting hurt. Before allowing the children in, make sure that all required food items and cooking utensils are already set on the kitchen counter. It is also a good idea to have aprons or some other sort of covering to protect the kids' clothing.
Once everything is set up, allow everyone to come into the kitchen. When cooking with children, the adult will have to make sure that everyone gets involved with the cooking process. Simple tasks like cracking eggs, removing vegetable peelings, and escorting items to the trash bin can be given to the younger children. Allow them to mix items like batters, whip creams, and knead dough. Separating a smaller portion that will not be included in the actual recipe is a good way to let the younger kids be involved without necessarily spoiling the ingredients.
Take caution if using hot items around children. Cooking with children and allowing them into the kitchen will require extreme supervision of cooking oils, which have a tendency to pop and cause burns. Also, keep children away from hot cooking utensils, making sure that children are away from open ovens and stoves.
Do not allow children to sample foods that are made from raw eggs. Popular dishes, like cookie dough, usually contain this potentially dangerous ingredient. A child who consumes raw eggs is at a risk of food poisoning, especially from salmonella. Instead, allow the children to be the official testers of the final food product, teaching them that you should always taste your food before serving it.
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