Get the Tots in the Kitchen

I have always hoped that Emilia will have a healthy relationship with food; that she’ll enjoy it, interact with it, and know that a chip comes from a potato, and that a potato comes from the ground.

I’ve wanted to get her helping the kitchen ever since she was born, and she has always been encouraged to prod things that I’m making and get her hands in there. She is now almost two, and we’ve moved things up a notch – she has started making her very own food!

Yeah!
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Yeah!

Her first creation was a batch of animal shaped biscuits. (The amazing animal cutters are care of my great friend Bee who brought them back from exotic Africa for me!) The recipe came from the BE-RO cookbook that I love and that has been in our family for decades. The biscuit recipe is a simple one, so it’s great for getting tots involved in. Emilia squidged the butter into the flour, and sent a good quarter of it flying over the kitchen too. She then beat the eggs (kind of), after which came the fun bit of stirring, prodding, squashing all the ingredients together… She had an absolute blast, giggling away at the textures, the mess, the freedom to be involved.

I'm rollin...
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I’m rollin…

I was surprised at how good she was though. She listened to me, watched as I showed her what to do and then copied, even managing to roll dough and press the cutters in. Here is the result of her endeavours, which she polished off quicker than the time it took to make them…

Hmmm
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Hmmm

Last weekend, Mr M and I were inspired by Mastershout to make our own tortelloni for tea. Emilia became restless, and was clawing at my knees as I rolled out the dough, so we fetched a stool (of sorts, actually a small table) and stood with her letting her roll out her own pasta, which she then devoured for tea. Brilliant!

Pasta rolling with Poppa
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Pasta rolling with Poppa

Food can be so interactive, so much fun for kids and it can really help them to feel involved. Get them in the kitchen! (Safely, of course. I won’t be giving her a knife any time soon.)

Here are my top tips:

  1. Keep it simple and don’t expect gourmet results.
  2. EXPECT MESS and embrace it. Why not?!
  3. Measure out all ingredients beforehand. You can’t turn your back to get the exact amount of butter measured, as the rest of the ingredients could well end up in the washing machine while you’re not looking…
  4. Don’t hang up washing to dry next to where your tot is throwing flour around (yes, you’d think that was obvious, however…).
Hmm, tasty. I'm a mighty fine chef!
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Hmm, tasty. I’m a mighty fine chef!

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