"A woman’s home is in the kitchen," or so the saying goes. For my great-grandmother, a Polish immigrant, that was certainly a widely accepted statement. Saying it meant no harm and nor did being in the kitchen.
In fact, back then the men might have starved to death if their wives hadn’t been willing to spend endless hours in the kitchen. If not starve, then at least eat very poorly or go out frequently for fast food.
Boys need to learn to cook so that they can be self sufficient and capable of feeding themselves – no excuses. Plus, think how happy his future significant other will be to find out that your son is a good cook. (If he’s a really good cook, you can even take credit for teaching him.)
Children like to help out, plus they love the special time with mom. So teaching them to cook can be fun, as long as we take the necessary precautions, teach them the rules of the kitchen and supervise them constantly. Teaching children from a young age builds confidence. It also encourages them to try new things. My guys love veggies because we grow them in the garden, and cook something together. There’s a sense of pride and accomplishment.
Today, more women will admit to not only having little interest in cooking but that being in the kitchen feels as foreign to them as eating Buffalo wings in Bora Bora.
Regardless of your comfort level in the kitchen, spending time with your son bonding over baking bread or conversing about cumin offers some wonderful life lessons. If you’re a whiz in the kitchen, then cooking with your son will be a piece of cake. If not, then you can learn a new skill together.
Another benefit is that when you’re preparing a family meal, you will have a capable helper by your side. Cooking can be fun and since everyone has to eat, why not teach healthy tips, techniques and terminology that will help your son in the long term? As an added bonus, cooking really encourages conversation and sharing. You can learn a lot about someone when you share the kitchen with them. How wonderful if that person is your very own son.
Cooking is like a science experiment - mixing and stirring, a pinch of this and that. Get your son on board by having him select a recipe he wants to make with you. Start with something easy, a pasta dish for dinner or pancakes for breakfast. Plan for the meal to be one that the family will share together so he can show off what he learned.
If your son enjoys a bit more adventure and you’re willing, pick a country you would like to visit and find recipes that represent that country. It’s important to remember to have fun, be patient and it will go smoothly.
With a plethora of cooking shows on television (and with most of the chefs male) your son will see immediately that neither cooking nor the kitchen is for women. While your cooking and bonding may not result in a future chef, he will have learned skills for a lifetime. And if you’re lucky, it’ll grow into a hobby where he surprises you with an incredible dinner – but don’t count on it.
The next time he’s watching a sporting event with friends and asks you to make a snack, you can suggest he make it himself – knowing that he is capable of doing it just fine.
Want more resources? Suzanne Osmond practiced cooking for her husband and her 8 boys, and certainly learned what they like and what they don’t like. She has a website called CookingForBoys.com. Or take a look at the newly-established UK website Cooking for Boys with its cool James Bond theme and its tongue-in-cheek tagline, "Danger is just a whisk-er away."