Teaching Daughters the Business of the Kitchen

Crystal Miller



     My kitchen has been a busy place this month, as it always is.   I love to cook and so do my daughters.  I am so thankful to be able to have them at my side in the kitchen working together and teaching them. They have now started looking for recipes on their own, learning to make changes in some of the foods to improve the health of a recipe and even have started creating menus for us.  For one week this last month they planned the menu, wrote the lists, did the shopping as I supervised and cooked all the meals. 


     I did not have these skills when I became a homemaker and wife.  I had no clue what was involved in the business of running a kitchen.  As I struggled to gain knowledge and skill in this area I became determined that my daughters would walk into their own kitchens armed with ability to run and manage this important part of home life. 


     I thought I would share information on how I go about this job and how my daughters have learned to do these things.  To begin with when they were younger I would have them in watching me, helping me to get ingredients gathered and learning to do the clean up.  It was their apprentice time.   Kids are eager to help when they are young and can sometimes be “too” much help! ~smile~ But I would use this time to teach them practical types of things in the kitchen that really was a help to me.  This is also the time where they can learn things like measuring cup and spoon sizes and where all the supplies are kept, how to open cans and operate the oven and timers and learn to tell if a cake has cooked all the way or what temperature to cook the pot of beans at after it has come to a boil, and is that covered or uncovered.  This is the time they just become familiar with the process of cooking and working in a kitchen. 


     As they got older and could read and follow a recipe and knew their way around the kitchen I would let them make something familiar all on their own while I was working on some other part of the meal.  I would start them with things like corn bread or brownies.  When they learned to chop and cut veggies then I would have them make the salad for a meal.  Eventually this led to making the main course as well. 


     Then as they become proficient in the kitchen we move onto menu planning which will take into account good nutrition, variety, and a knowledge of what is in the pantry and the fridge.  From that I teach them how to make a grocery list and shop.  The shopping also expands into budget basics and looking for good deals.  When we get home from the store my girls help to put away the food, repackage large size items and put them in the freezer.  


     You may be wondering what ages to do all these tasks?  Well that will depend on your child and their abilities and the time spent in the kitchen.  I have always made a point of including my girls in the kitchen on a daily basis, teaching them that the kitchen and its’ work is a regular part of daily life.  Right now my girls are 15, 14 and 12 ˝ and the 15 and 14 year olds could run the whole kitchen without my help for quite some time.  The 12 ˝ year old daughter is getting there quickly but still needs help and asks questions.  My 8 year old daughter is in the somewhere between beginning and middle stages.  She helps to gather ingredients and is doing a great job of learning her way around the kitchen, washing dishes, unloading the dishwasher, turning on the oven for baking, helping me shape bread loaves and putting them in the oven and of course the basics of stirring and measuring.  The ages that are appropriate will best be determined by you as you work with them and you see their skill and knowledge and ability increase. 


     Most of all have fun in the kitchen with your daughters!  Passing on the value of the kitchen and its’ importance in a home is a very enjoyable experience for mothers and daughters! 



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