Personally, I love cooking. Experimenting with produce, textures and flavors to create a wholesome, home-cooked meal for my family is something I particularly enjoy. My 6-year old daughter seems to have inherited this trait from me, although cooking with her is a different dynamic altogether. For the time being, we love watching ‘Masterchef’ together and I am amazed at the number of new words in her food vocabulary already.
On that thought, it was only appropriate to get a food blogger on board to contribute towards my next guest post. A tea-addict and mum to a 5-year old boy, Tasneem Rajkotwala from Thoughts over Chai is fond of cooking, photography (you have to see the food pictures on her blog!) and writing about the many places they visit as a family. Her food philosophy is about celebrating the many nuances of life; while specializing in simple, home-made food that is easy to create and prepared using the freshest of ingredients.
In this post, she talks about the importance of cooking with children and signs off with one of her cherished recipes.
Over to her.
My 5-year old is a typical boy his age. At times, I wonder what kind of a person he will grow up to be and what people, especially the women in his life, will think of him. Will he be a sensitive man? Or one that is loyal in his relationships? Among the many life lessons we intend to teach him, there is one in particular that we stress upon: preparing him to live on his own. As a result, he is constantly involved in the kitchen and other chores around the house, as these tasks, by no means are for ‘women only’.
Cooking with children need not be overwhelming. It is an incredible way to bond with them, while teaching them how to cook & feed, and adapt to a variety of food from the start. Undoubtedly, they are more keen on trying out food they have personally been involved with.
Right from the time my son was crawling, I would hand him a bowl with ingredients such as butter, eggs and flour which he would mix, while I prepared our meals. This transitioned into grocery shopping, where he would identify and select fruits and vegetables based on his sense of smell and touch. Over the years and as his fine-motor skills sharpened, he has now taken up a permanent place in the kitchen, assisting me with basic tasks such as washing, cutting, mixing, spooning and sieving ingredients.
- Cook with him when I have the time and patience. I am aware that he will work at his own pace; so I get him to assist me when I am not in a hurry or expecting guests at home.
- Having him in the kitchen means messy counters and floors. Rather than cleaning up after every spill, doing so at the end of process saves me a lot of time and effort.
- Some days he is not in the mood to cook. I do not force him; rather, we pick up from where we left once he is ready.
- Sit and plan the menu with him to give him a sense of control.
- Always, always appreciate and thank him for helping me in the kitchen.
At the age of 3, he was washing fruits and vegetables and/or mixing ingredients during our baking sessions. As of now, he is capable of rolling energy bites, skewering kebabs, buttering his bread, rolling the dough and cutting soft fruits using his own plastic knife.
Fancy a super-healthy, no-cook sweet treat for your little ones? My Peanut Butter Truffles will get a bit messy; however, when it involves them for a good 30 minutes (depending on the quantity you make), you wouldn’t be complaining.
- Peanut butter – 1/2 cup
- Almond meal – 1/2 cup
- Coconut flakes – 1/3 cup (optional)
- Crushed pistachio – 1/3 cup
- Cocoa powder – 1/3 cup
- Honey – 2-3 tbsp
- Digestive biscuits – 5 to 6
- Banana – 1, large
- Place the digestive biscuits in a plastic bag and crush them fine with a roller. Alternatively, use a food processor to turn into fine crumbs.
- In a mixing bowl, add bananas and mash them until smooth. Mix in all the ingredients except cocoa powder and pistachios and combine into a smooth mixture.
- Take a teaspoonful and roll the mixture into individual balls.
- Roll in cocoa powder or pistachio or both.
Serve chilled or store in the refrigerator for upto a week in an air tight container.
A qualified accountant by profession, I decided to quit after Little A was born. Presently, I am committed to polishing my culinary skills and simultaneously work as a digital media assistant for a few companies.
The recipes on this blog draw immense cultural influences from the cities I have lived in – Nagpur, Hyderabad, Bombay and Dubai; and continue to explore my little one’s growing taste buds. You wouldn’t find me shopping at gourmet stores or using fancy ingredients from my pantry; although I love coming up with solutions that covert a regular meal into irresistible treats. There’s no excuse for not cooking fresh food that looks and tastes great, even if you’re short on time and budget.