Monday, January 25, 2010

Building Kitchen Traditions: It's Never Too Early to Start!

Can you remember the first time you "cooked" or "baked" in the kitchen? Even though we might not be cooking three meals a day from scratch like our grandmothers did, there's an opportunity to start new cooking traditions for ourselves, our friends and families.

We've recently started a baking tradition with my friend, Mama A and her daughter, Little I, who will be 3 in February. This was our second year of baking and decorating sugar cookies together and it was fun to see Little I's interest grow. I've learned that it is never too early to start building a new kitchen tradition.

Last year, Little I was almost 2 when she came over to decorate cookies (in photo above). I was amazed at her interest and ability to gently pick up sprinkles from Mama A's hand and delicately put them on the cookies at such a young age. Click for the full post on Little I's first sugar cookies.

This year, Little I's excitement about making cookies was wonderful to see. I received a lovely "princess" cookie cutter set which was perfect for this occasion. What a difference a year makes as Little I was more engaged and wanted to be even more involved. I made the cookies in advance and prepared the buttercream frosting. While Mama A put on a layer of frosting, Little I eagerly selected the sprinkles and put them on the top of the the cookies. It was a great moment to talk about the different colors and shapes. Little A had lots of opinions about which colors she wanted to use!

She also really enjoyed eating those sprinkles!

Three different generations were involved this year as my mom, "Grandma" Gail, stopped by and joined in the decorating fun.

Baking cookies together will be a yearly kitchen tradition we will continue. I'm also excited to start a cooking tradition with Little I where we make something with fruit and vegetables and other healthy foods.

Do you have any kitchen traditions with your kids or friends or family?

Are you thinking about starting some new kitchen traditions?


Megan said...

Another one of my old babysitters (and ballet teacher as well)... weird!! haha

My parents used to bake cookies with us (me & my bro) before Christmas, and then deliver them to friends and neighbors!

Lauren said...

What kind of cookies would you bake, Megan?

Nicola said...

i love bringing our kids into the kitchen. they have their own little play kitchen, which they love, but letting them mix, stir, sample all teach them a lot. beware the mess, though. my son enjoys it more than my daughter. different personalities...

Lauren said...

I agree, Nicola. I just read this article today on Culinate about baking with kids:

Hooray for the hands-on kitchen!

Megan said...

Well let's see. We made many many kinds. Usually about 5 recipes a year. It was crazy! My mom's favorite was raspberry thumbprints. and I remember making mouse cookies - they were peanut butter and chocolate, and had twizzlers for tails and peanut halves for ears. very cute and unique! now I'm a spritz traditionalist. But I also like experimenting around. This year I made some sweet chocolate peppermint pinwheels, with betty crocker sugar cookie dough as a base!