Happy Meals

Happy Meals

Here’s a little experiment to try.  The next time your child deserves a reward for some special accomplishment, tell her she can have anything she wants for dinner.  What will his response be?  A pie from the local pizza parlor?  Something from a fast-food joint?  A trip to a special restaurant?  What are the chances he will request some home-cooked meal?  Slim to none?

Recently, a lot of experts have been talking about the importance of families sharing meals together – a practice that seems to have been lost amidst the hectic schedules that parents and children often keep these days.  Since it establishes opportunities for frequent and relaxed communication between family members, it is obvious how psychologically and emotionally beneficial breaking bread together on a regular basis can be for everyone.

Unfortunately, what often is missing from these discussions is the idea of the family preparing as well as consuming the meal together.  Home cooking adds an ambiance that significantly enhances the aforementioned psychological and emotional benefits.  Furthermore, home cooking provides tremendous opportunities for a variety of educational benefits as well.

The kitchen constitutes a fantastic classroom when it comes to teaching virtually any subject.  Reading and math are essential elements in following recipes.  Mixing ingredients reveals the mysteries of chemistry.  And putting everything into the oven creates a physics laboratory.  Home cooking also hones a host of physical skills.  Large muscles are rigorously exercised while carrying groceries, and small muscle dexterity is enhanced through chopping, sifting, pouring, etc.  Furthermore, few activities improve hand-eye coordination as effectively as collecting the appropriate amounts of various ingredients in measuring cups and spoons.

In addition, countless “life lessons” are being learned.  Conscientiousness is required for good results.  Creativity in planning and on-the-spot innovation during execution are called for often.  Accommodating individual inclinations within a group experience and coordinating the efforts of several people into a smooth, well-timed operation are part of the overall experience.  And, of course, developing a sense of responsibility is a major feature of the clean up phase.

So think about enrolling your child in a Chef Rompy class and then giving him opportunities to put what he is learning into practice by helping you prepare home-cooked meals in your own kitchen.  The investment of time, energy, and effort will pay incredible short and long-term dividends for your child.  And that ultimately will make the meal far more delicious for you than the finest cuisines offered by the best bistros.