Lessons in the Kitchen
Last December, my girls unwrapped children’s cookbooks on Christmas morning. This was one of the gifts I was most excited about – as giving something with the potential to create memories and shared experiences together always feels far more meaningful than gifting a toy that will likely be played with only a few times before inevitably collecting dust in the toybox or underneath a bed. Beyond the benefits of making memories and sweet treats, let’s consider all the learning opportunities that come with kid-friendly cooking – following directions, paying attention to details, working together, gaining new vocabulary, understanding measurements, math, conversions, sequencing, reading, sharing, waiting… the list goes on!
So six months later, here we are, finally pulling out the cookbooks for an afternoon of fun in the kitchen. (Real life, guys. Despite my best intentions, even the books collected dust for the first half of the year). Anyway, today my girls put on their aprons and together we made ‘mini-marshmallow smoothies’. It was a simple recipe, with only 5 ingredients that should’ve easily ended in some pretty tasty treats, right?
Wrong. Guess what? They were terrible! They were bland and watery and my entire trio of toddlers left the table having taken only a few sips of their smoothies. Again, real life. But this was no fail! Because you see, even a bad recipe can lead to a teachable moment.
Sometimes, no matter how closely we follow a recipe, things simply don’t turn out the way we expect. Despite our best efforts, something goes wrong. This is life. Even in moments when we spend hours planning, preparing, studying, organizing, or practicing… we fail. Not because we did something wrong, but because sometimes, the outcome is simply out of our hands.
Maybe the planned vacation ended with stormy weather or cancelled flights. Maybe the nice dinner didn’t happen because the fancy restaurant was closed or at capacity. Maybe the interview went great but someone else got the job. Maybe you trained daily but didn’t get the trophy. Maybe you eat healthy but still fight your health. Maybe you follow all the rules yet still find yourself collapsing in defeat.
You know what you do when that happens? You learn from it. You move on. You adapt. You think about what you can do differently to achieve a better outcome the next time around. For us, today, it was to add some sugar and vanilla ice cream to the blender. A pretty quick fix. But life won’t always be that simple and that’s a hard lesson to teach… and even a harder concept to understand, especially to two little girls.
Today I didn’t get into all the examples and depth that this type of conversation could’ve provoked… but what I did do was sit with my kids in the kitchen and very gently, introduce a big life lesson. As we pushed our watery smoothies aside, we spent a few moments talking together about big stuff. Big, tough life lessons. Lessons that came easier to introduce, thanks to the failure of a recipe. Hopefully the next treat will be tastier… regardless, I’m grateful for the opportunities for lessons in the kitchen. If you have kiddos, young or teenage, pull out a recipe and start baking! You never know what it might lead to!