As the mother of TWO beautiful baby girls, I'm discovering how to make "Ashley's kitchen" into "Mama's kitchen." You know, like the kind in old movies and nostalgic country songs. Mama's kitchen - where everyone gathers to enjoy good food, weekend brunches, family dinners, and make lasting memories. That is my destination, and this is my journey.
"You can't always give your children a silver spoon at birth, but you can give them a wooden one and teach them to cook." ~Mama
If you order one of my cookbooks, you might wonder why I included a tiny wooden spoon. Well, one of the biggest joys and challenges of the past 5 years has been figuring out how to share my kitchen with my kiddos. From a very young age, both of my girls showed interest in helping Mama cook. Maybe because they spent a fair amount of time in a baby carrier while I prepared dinner, or in their high chairs pulled into the kitchen to watch and snitch ingredients as I cooked. Without really thinking about it, I started narrating what I was doing, as if performing in my own cooking show. Once they were old enough to pull a chair over and actually help with some parts of the cooking process, I was surprised by my own words coming back to me from their little lips. "How did you know that?" You told me, Mama. WOAH.
I had no idea the importance of cooking with my girls until I started to see the independence, confidence, and creativity they gained from it. Not to mention, we've inadvertently (or maybe advertently) created two little foodies! Another huge bonus of my little helpers is getting them excited to taste and try whatever we're cooking, and even adjusting flavors when reasonable. (Yes, you may put parmesan aka "sprinkle cheese" on your broccoli. No, you may not put actual sprinkles on your broccoli.) Entertainment, bonding time, confidence, nutrition, and life skills? Yes, please!
Who needs a silver spoon, when you can give your kids all that and more with a wooden spoon. Never underestimate the power of your time, your words, and some home-cooked dishes.