Family Health

I Ate Hundreds of Crepes To Teach My Son a Lesson

Jun 3, 2019

I once dated a man who couldn’t cook.

I don’t mean that he couldn’t cook elaborate five-course meals, I mean that he wasn’t able to prepare himself basic nourishment. He called me once, while we were living in separate countries, to complain that he was hungry but that neither his mother or sisters were home so he wasn’t able to eat. It wasn’t laziness, he genuinely didn’t know how to prepare himself a snack, let alone a meal. He was a grown man.

That phone call may have been the beginning of the end of our relationship.

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I swore that I would never allow my kids to hit adulthood without knowing how to feed themselves.

We included our kids in meal prep from an early age, even if it was just because they were hanging around in the kitchen as we buzzed about making dinner. As toddlers they loved helping their dad make Sunday morning crepes and baking together became one of our favourite Sunday afternoon activities. They adored the parent and child cooking classes offered at our local grocery store and proudly showed off their creations at the end of class.

But as they grew up, we involved them less and less.

It became more of a hassle for us.

Instead of just allowing him to help in the kitchen, we started to give him the responsibility of cooking the meal.

It took so much longer when they were "helping" and the kitchen was a disaster. After a long day at work, I just wanted to get it done. I let my own selfish need to get it done quickly and efficiently take over.

My son’s interest, in particular, just kept growing.

I soon realized that this interest in cooking may not last. There would come a time, in the near future, where getting my children to do anything they considered a chore would be a battle. I had to take a deep breath, let go of the control and embrace their curiosity.

Instead of just allowing him to help in the kitchen, we started to give him the responsibility of cooking the meal.

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One Recipe at a Time

Starting slowly, we taught him one recipe at a time.

The first thing he learned to cook was crepes. My husband taught him both the recipe and the technique. In the weeks after we must have eaten hundreds of crepes. He wanted to make crepes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Then he moved on to fried egg tostadas, where he learned to fry an egg, make guacamole from scratch and grate cheese. Yet again, we were treated to multiple fried egg tostada meals a week.

Soon he was watching cooking shows and wanting to make more complex meals.

After becoming totally enthralled in a baking show, he begged to bake a cake. This involved learning to read a recipe. Together, we found a recipe and he learned to follow it; measurements and all. Realizing that we were missing the baking soda, he hopped on his bike and rode straight to the corner store. I wasn’t sure he would be able to find what he was looking for but he wasn’t afraid to ask the question and came home with both baking soda and ready-made icing, paid for with his own money.

So Many Lessons

He was learning to read recipes, follow instructions and how to keep himself safe in the kitchen (after not pulling the oven mitts up high enough, he got a tiny burn on his forearm). Measuring out half teaspoons of cinnamon and quarter cups of cocoa powder taught him about fractions. And keeping an eye on the oven clock helped him improve his ability to read time.

Learning to cook was teaching him so much.

More important than all the school lessons he was learning in our cozy kitchen, cooking was giving him some independence and helping him build his confidence.

It is just as important to teach my kids to feed themselves as it is to teach them to read and write.

One summer we took on a family experiment where each of us was assigned a day of the week to plan, prepare and cook a meal. Our kids were thrilled to be able to choose what would be on our family dinner table and when they set out their final product the pride beamed from their little eyes and filled my heart.

Cooking is a necessary life skill. It is just as important to teach my kids to feed themselves as it is to teach them to read and write. You need to be able to eat to survive and I don’t want my children to ever have to depend on someone else to take care of them.

One can only survive on ready-made ramen noodles and takeout for so long.

Relevant Reading: Let Kids in on Cooking Because Dinner Doesn't Just Magically Happen

If spending time with my kids in the kitchen has taught me anything, it’s that they are capable of so much more than I even know.  At first I hovered, afraid they would get hurt, break something and, yes, I was terrified of the mess. They have proven to me that they are fully able to do hard things if I just give them to space to try. I’m confident that when the day comes for my kids to leave home, they will be well equipped to keep themselves full and healthy.

And in the meantime, I look forward to the days where I don’t have to cook.

Article Author Natalie Romero
Natalie Romero

Natalie’s passion for writing was reignited as she blogged her way through the pain of her son’s health issues and NICU stay. She is the wife of the world’s greatest foot rubber and mother to an amazingly loyal little boy and a fiercely independent little girl. An HR professional by day and a freelance writer and blogger by night, Natalie is getting a crash course in the juggling act that is the life of a working mother, though she does occasionally drop a ball or two! After spending much of her life trying to be perfect she has learned to rock her shortcomings and is not afraid to admit when she’s failed. This parenting thing can be tough and Natalie believes the best way to survive it is by keeping it real and by leaning on your tribe.

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