There’s this trick that authors and screenwriters use. They trick the audience into loving a character, no matter how flawed that character has been. A trick that cooking with daddy can use in their own life.
Storytellers make you think someone is one-dimensional. And then, bam! They hit with you with an unsuspecting bit of information that makes the character mysterious, multidimensional and loveable.
Just picture a warrior. He doesn’t speak much. He’s mean. He always gets the job done and expects others to keep their word. Others fear him. But then, you see him nurse a wounded dog back to health. He talks to it like a baby and cries when it dies of old age.
Well, we can be those men of mystery. We can drive off to work, put our work-faces on and be a Mr. Masculine. Then, come home to the family and be the authoritarian with the children. But then, when dinner time rolls around, we can put that apron on and cook. People will look at us and wonder what else is underneath that manly façade.
But, most importantly, dads that cook can appear multidimensional to their own kids. We can teach them that cooking is not gender specific and use cooking as a bonding experience. The best way to do that is by experimenting in the kitchen with our own kids.
You’re probably way ahead of me on this one because you are the most concerned person on earth for your child’s safety. But, it needs to be stated: children shouldn’t be left alone in the kitchen unsupervised while cooking. We need to teach them that the kitchen can be dangerous with heat and sharp knives. Give them a briefing before heading into the kitchen and remind them every chance you get. Kids can be fearless and need to be reminded.
Make it Their Idea
Kids tend to be egocentric. They love to show you what they did and they are especially proud of their accomplishments. So, try to fool them into thinking it was their idea. If they like cookies, why not plant the seed. Tell them that making cookies for other people makes them happy. If you give them ownership of the project, they are much more likely to commit.
Use a Blank Canvas
There are plenty of foods that can be personalized, like pizza, cookies and finger food appetizers. Pick a food that they can tweak with toppings, ingredients and presentation. Make it theirs and they will remember the experience forever. Better yet, make the food as a present for their mother. Double whammy. And for more blank-canvas food ideas, check out the blog at www.DadstheCook.com.