Picture, if you will, a day in the not-so-distant future. Your grown child stands in the middle of his very own kitchen with a decision to make: what’s for dinner? Mealtime has come around again, and—whether he’s feeding only himself or his entire family—making it will be a snap if he’s been taught how to maneuver through the cooking process with ease and confidence. After all, preparing food is one of the most essential life skills he can learn. If he doesn’t have a clue, chances are pretty good he’ll get a lot of his meals handed to him in a greasy paper bag shoved through a small window.
Back to the present day. You suddenly realize that in four short years, your oldest will take that big step out of your everyday life. He’ll head out on a new adventure and make all of those nutrition choices on his own. Questions start popping up in your head…
“Have I taught him everything he needs to know about cooking?”
“Does he truly get the importance of choosing real food over processed food?”
“Will he make the right choices when he heads to the grocery store?”
The answers are: “No.” “I think so.” And “Probably not all of the time.” You come to the realization that you must navigate the next few years carefully. In between his AP courses and basketball practice, you’ve got to cram as much nutrition and cooking knowledge into that brain of his as you can—without making it seem like a hassle. But how? The light bulb goes off, and you think to yourself, “What would Sally do?”
Sally Fallon Morell, that is.
You know Sally Fallon Morell, right? Cofounder and President of the Weston A. Price Foundation and author or coauthor of Nourishing Traditions, Nourishing Broth, and Eat Fat, Lose Fat. Sally has made it her life’s mission to get all of us on the right track when it comes to nutrition and food preparation. From soaking grains to make them more digestible to fermenting foods to give our bodies the good bacteria it needs, she’s been spreading the word about the lost art of traditional cooking for quite some time now.
And guess what?! She recently partnered with Suzanne Gross on a cookbook that gives parents exactly the information they need to teach their children the hows, whats, and whys of cooking. The Nourishing Traditions Cookbook for Children: Teaching Children to Cook the Nourishing Traditions Way was published this year, and it’s sure to become the go-to reference for teaching our kids the basics of the kitchen.
Once I got my hands on it, I noticed some key things that make this cookbook stand out. I enjoyed the introduction, which was written for adults who want to pass along the fine art of cooking. The authors include tips for cooking with children and explain the basics of kitchen equipment before diving right into food preparation and recipes.
More great things about this book:
- It’s easy for kids to understand. The authors explain the difference between various kinds of eggs without going into the nitty-gritty that would make children lose interest.
- It reinforces the importance of making good food choices and why. As parents know, sometimes knowledge sinks in a little easier when it comes from someone other than mom and dad.
- It includes basic recipes that will help the novice gain confidence in the kitchen, then builds on those skills with more steps and ingredients. In the “Incredible Eggs!” chapter alone, you move from simple scrambled eggs to a Greek Omelet—and even a Pizza Omelet.
- It includes a section called “What’s for Dessert?” Dessert is going to happen, so why not learn how to make good choices when it comes up? Gross and Fallon Morell talk about healthy sweeteners and share recipes for nourishing desserts such as whole milk ice cream and Coconut Cookies.
In the realm of teaching our kids lifesaving cooking skills, what would Sally do? She would write a book about it and share her knowledge with whoever chose to pick it up. How lucky for the rest of us! The Nourishing Traditions Cookbook for Children is a simple, straightforward means to an end: raising confident and wise cooks. In the not-so-distant future, I plan to work through each of the recipes with my boys before they start cooking solo.
Do you have a budding cook under your roof? Why not pair this cookbook with a fun apron and a good starter kitchen knife to get your future chef headed in the right direction?
Creative Commons photo by Toca Boca.