Watch Cooking Channel

Cooking with Kids

I live in a house with three girls—my wife and two daughters. And a female poodle! The whole casa is filled with dolls, shoes, lipsticks and fashion items. The only manly touches here are my biking gear and my kitchen knives (and those, too, are lipstick/nail-polish red).

When my daughters ask me to play with them, I have to dress up dolls, wear butterfly wings, and very often pretend that I am passionate about Camp Rock and the Jonas Brothers. Thank God I have been spared the whole Justin Bieber thing up until now—I hope it lasts.

When the tables are turned, and my kids want to enter my playground, they join me in the kitchen.

I started spending time at the stove with my Mom and Grandma when I was about 3 years old. By age 6, I was let alone on Sunday mornings to bake and experiment with my first recipes. My parents were fine with this, as long as I was quiet and did not wake them up.

Making pancakes for Debi's birthday.

My philosophy for cooking with kids is very simple: If your kid knows how to use a remote control, can navigate the menu of a DVR or excels at playing a video game, he or she should be able to handle a knife in the kitchen.

My daughter Giulia, who’s nearly 5, already handles a 5-inch chef’s knife pretty well (obviously under my supervision). Every evening she drags a chair to the kitchen counter and asks: “What are we making for dinner?” To her, it is not just about sitting down in front of a delicious meal. She takes pride and care in knowing that she plays a very active role in preparing what she will eat and feed to her sister and her mother.

We had fun learning to make mozzarella together.

Baking is one of the easiest ways to get kids cooking in the kitchen, and pizza comes right after. But once the interest is sparked, it is easy to get them involved with more complex stuff. Children like to impress their parents, they only need a jump-start.

It goes without saying that the prospect of preparing pancakes or biscotti brings kids to the front of a stove quicker than a vegetable soup does, but I believe that the secret is just to break them in. Cooking is a never ending experiment with ingredients, numbers and quantities, and new words that for sure are not spoken in school: braising, toasting, folding, broiling… the list goes on!

We do not have a TV set in the kitchen, only a dock for the mp3 player, which is always on. The music sets the tone for the chopping, the sautéing, the stirring… and the occasional mistake. Our kitchen is the core of our home, and it makes me proud that my girls intend it as a playground for the whole family.

There's always a first time!

I use the time I spend with my daughters in the kitchen to pass on to them all I know about feeding loved ones. Giulia and Evelina have started to inherit my family recipes, and they have already acquired a very specific sense of taste for all things Italian. They know the ingredients we have in our fridge and pantry, and they are always very curious about new entries on the menu. I am having a fish taco moment these days, and we started frying fish at least once a week in beer batter. It was an incredible novelty to them, all of us together developing our family recipe. It has sparked conversation, creativity and pride. My mom will be visiting us in Los Angeles soon, and my daughters asked me if we can make her our new tacos when she is here; they care about her feedback and they want to impress her at the same time, with food!

Food heritage is an incredible tool to spend time with your family, and it allows you to share old memories and create new ones. And it does so much more for your kids than an hour of Nickelodeon programming.

Also, I often consider teaching my daughters to cook as part of my retirement plan. There are not too many more things I expect from life: I have love, health and a job that makes me happy. But I can tell you one thing I will need when I am older: my daughters will have to start cooking for me!!!

Babbo = pappa!

So tonight or this weekend or for the next birthday party, pretend your TV set is broken. Get your kids in the kitchen with you, and share your love by helping them discover a whole new world through cooking. Make all together a long distance phone call to grandma, and ask her for a recipe or a tip. Or just tell her you are cooking something together that she used to make for you a few decades ago, when you were the kid and she took time and immense pride in doing with you what you are now doing with your kids. Trust me, it will be an emotional phone call, especially for grandma!

I always took for granted what I learned from the women in my family when I was younger. Now, I often pause to deeply enjoy the fact that this time, I am inspiring my kids, I am sharing my family history, and together we are making new discoveries.

Less Video Games, More Chopping!
Gabriele

Watch Gabriele and Debi Mazar cook meals from their home every Wednesday night at 10pm ET/ 9pm CT on Cooking Channel.

Good recipes to make with kids:

More about the show:

More Italian food:

Tags:

Comments (1735)

  1. the best electric toothbrush posted 11/15/2012

    Read was interesting, stay in touch……

    [...]please visit the sites we follow, including this one, as it represents our picks from the web[...]……

  2. Explore Talent Katie Floyd posted 11/15/2012

    Gems form the internet…

    [...]very few websites that happen to be detailed below, from our point of view are undoubtedly well worth checking out[...]……

  3. virgin olive oil hair prices posted 11/15/2012

    Visitor recommendations…

    [...]one of our visitors recently recommended the following website[...]……

  4. football helmet facemask posted 11/15/2012

    Superb website…

    [...]always a big fan of linking to bloggers that I love but don’t get a lot of link love from[...]……

  5. here posted 11/15/2012

    Gems form the internet…

    [...]very few websites that happen to be detailed below, from our point of view are undoubtedly well worth checking out[...]……

  6. randka przez internet posted 11/15/2012

    Woman of Alien…

    Great perform you may have performed, this great site is really cool with wonderful details. Time is God’s technique for maintaining everything from taking place at once….

  7. randka posted 11/15/2012

    The Birch of the Shadow…

    I believe there could be considered a handful of duplicates, but an exceedingly useful listing! I have tweeted this. Quite a few thanks for sharing!…

  8. Yahoo results…

    While browsing Yahoo I found this page in the results and I didn’t think it fit…

  9. lcd screen repair posted 11/16/2012

    fairly appealing…

    Good total website about the next paragraphs! In addition your present website tons technique aside fast! What webhost would be described as a person examining employing? Am my best spouse in addition to i allowed to purchase your internet web internet…

  10. super randka posted 11/16/2012

    The Absent Game…

    Between me and my husband we have owned extra MP3 players through the years than I can count, like Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few several years I’ve settled down to one line of gamers….

  11. Arkadas Bul posted 11/16/2012

    fantastic website website…

    We’ve seen that on-line degree will definitely get common since accomplishing your present degree on-line has developed into common selection for lots of. Many men together with women get never got virtually any type of possible possiblity to particip…

  12. randki internetowe posted 11/16/2012

    The Silent Shard…

    This could almost certainly be fairly handy for a few of the positions I decide to you should not only with my blog but…

  13. cheapest auto insurance posted 11/16/2012

    First school Web site…

    Hello truth find available, a person might as soon as create excellent, however the earlier several articles are usually developing reality method regarding boring… Most of us skip your very personal super archives. Previous numerous articles are just …

  14. top post posted 11/16/2012

    Incredible Website…

    As well simply because recently omitted concerning period, yet today Whilst within the exactly the reason My personal mate and i helpful to really like this particular web online site. Kudos, I’ll attempt to be able to verify again a much more often. J…

  15. randki rzeszow posted 11/16/2012

    The Ships’s Voyages…

    I believe know-how just makes it even worse. Now there’s a channel to never ever care, now there is not going to become a possibility for them to discover….

  16. fast payday loans posted 11/17/2012

    good statement…

    Enjoyed examining this kind of, very vitamins as nicely as minerals, thankyou. “The monk knows enough things, even therefore the specific hedgehog comprehends 1 large stage. in. width through Archilocus….

  17. evening dresses posted 11/18/2012

    evening dresses…

    I saw this really great post today….

  18. read even more posted 11/19/2012

    really fascinating write-up…

    especially excellent submit, recently my spouse as well as i actually love this kind of original internet website, keep using this sort of again…

  19. canal turf pronostic hippique…

    canal turf pronostics gratuits…

  20. fantastic submit…

    In line when using the research, from household foreclosure property is usually available about the specific firms, it’s quite while using the client with purchase to help however supply the remaining sense related to balance inside non-public financi…

  21. methods inform people posted 11/21/2012

    superior created quantity…

    Wonderful weblog! Have just simply regarding whatever suggestions developed for aspiring phrase wide web writers? Now i’ll be planning become started great private web site quickly although I am only a tad eliminate with issues. Does just one propose …

  22. Gaye posted 11/22/2012

    Idea…

    I are willing to do some reading on the blog….

  23. Cyprien posted 11/23/2012

    Oppion…

    Do like the page about wonderful articles….

  24. Javier posted 11/23/2012

    Good idea…

    I invite you to read the blog….

  25. Black Friday posted 11/23/2012

    genuinely intriguing content articles…

    Hello honestly there. Outstanding venture. I would so certainly not image which. It’s a fantastic adventure. Bless a individual!…

  26. Jimmy Arcino posted 11/25/2012

    Third Flower…

    My wife and that i have been now delighted that Albert could carry out his research as a result of the suggestions he had by your online page. It truly is every so often perplexing to only usually be freely giving steps which a number of people might h…

  27. Diseño web barato posted 11/25/2012

    really significant…

    The specific strong demonstrate to be able to, I solely simply along with cash particular towards a few co-worker whereby had previously recently been working by using fairly test wherever. Not to explain the actual guy inescapable fact continues to be…

  28. Guy posted 11/29/2012

    Oppion…

    Invite you to read the articles in the blog….

  29. Javier posted 11/29/2012

    Wonderful idea…

    DO invite you to do some reading on the page….

  30. ecommerce service in delhi posted 11/29/2012

    amazing write-up…

    Hi my partner! My better fifty percent and i sooo want to reveal that article will likely be awesome, great composed along along with attend almost almost most vital infos. I’d just choose to appear far more content similar to this particular….

  31. Forest posted 11/30/2012

    AWOSOME…

    That’s great…

  32. Fraser posted 11/30/2012

    Good idea…

    I invite you to read the blog….

  33. Diamanta posted 11/30/2012

    Idea…

    Pls spend your time to read the blog….

  34. Lacy posted 11/30/2012

    Oppion…

    Do like the page about wonderful articles….

  35. Nancie Elizondo posted 11/30/2012

    Superior Web website…

    I just for instance actual effective info anyone provide along with your articles. I could possibly bookmark your website and check once once again here routinely. I’m definitely certain I most surely will learn plenty regarding new stuff several! Goo…

  36. Sites we Like……

    [...] Every once in a while we choose blogs that we read. Listed below are the latest sites that we choose [...]……

  37. cheapest merchant account posted 12/01/2012

    Superb website…

    [...]always a big fan of linking to bloggers that I love but don’t get a lot of link love from[...]……

  38. learn to draw book posted 12/01/2012

    Great website…

    [...]we like to honor many other internet sites on the web, even if they aren’t linked to us, by linking to them. Under are some webpages worth checking out[...]……

  39. Awesome website…

    [...]the time to read or visit the content or sites we have linked to below the[...]……

  40. adobe video editing posted 12/02/2012

    Links…

    [...]Sites of interest we have a link to[...]……

  41. one day trading posted 12/02/2012

    Websites worth visiting…

    [...]here are some links to sites that we link to because we think they are worth visiting[...]……

  42. pay day loans posted 12/04/2012

    pay day loans…

    [...]please go to the websites we comply with, such as this a single, as it represents our picks in the web[...]…

  43. Byron posted 12/05/2012

    Great idea…

    If I were you, I do like the page….

  44. Egil posted 12/05/2012

    Good idea…

    Do you want to read the page about the blog….

  45. dealing with depression posted 12/05/2012

    dealing with depression…

    [...]we like to honor several other world-wide-web sites on the internet, even if they aren?t linked to us, by linking to them. Below are some webpages really worth checking out[...]…

  46. online college degrees posted 12/13/2012

    Recent Blogroll Additions……

    [...]usually posts some very interesting stuff like this. If you’re new to this site[...]……

  47. buying a home posted 12/18/2012

    Cool sites…

    [...]we came across a cool site that you might enjoy. Take a look if you want[...]……

  48. Accountants in Sunderland posted 12/19/2012

    Check this out…

    [...] that is the end of this article. Here you’ll find some sites that we think you’ll appreciate, just click the links over[...]……

  49. James Mgarlin posted 12/21/2012

    Third Flower…

    My wife and i are now delighted that Albert could execute his reports as a consequence of the ideas he had through your web page. It’s on occasion perplexing to simply generally be giving freely actions which some individuals might have been promoting…

  50. instant loans online posted 12/24/2012

    Bella…

    I think this is one of the so much significant info for me. And i’m glad reading your article. However wanna observation on some normal things, The website taste is perfect, the articles is actually nice :D . Excellent job, cheers….

Post a New Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

c