Seven Essential Recipes To Teach Your Kids
This website is all about using style as a way to be a better dad. But, as we are all aware, style goes beyond just what we wear, which is why I sometimes delve into alternate topics.
Knowing how to cook is an essential part of being a stylish individual. You don’t have to impress anyone with your culinary wizardry, though. Just know how to make a handful of simple, healthful, tasty dishes.
When it comes to cooking as an activity, I view it as a means-to-an-end, that is to say, I don’t particularly enjoy the work that goes into making a dish. I like the end result, but the cooking itself I can take or leave. I am not someone who takes pleasure in trying new recipes or experimenting in the kitchen.
My wife, however, enjoys cooking and is very good at it. Because of that, she tends to do most of the cooking in our house.
The thing is, though, I want my sons to see me cooking because I don’t want them to think that knowing how to cook is somehow girly or unmanly. Honestly, I don’t think they will think that, since it’s no longer strange for a man to know how to cook. It’s not the 1940s. But because their mother does it most of the time, I don’t want them to think it’s strictly the woman’s domain.
I also want them to know that cooking doesn’t have to be intimidating or complicated or really all that time-consuming.
Part of arming them with the knowledge they need to be fully-functioning adults is making sure they grasp the basics of cooking. Because, let’s be honest, they are much more likely to attract a mate if they can cook a little bit.
Below, I’ll list some recipes that I think are essential for you to teach your children. Whenever I make these for my kids, I’ll tell them how I did it and break down how simple it was. When they’re older I’ll show them how to do it for themselves.
#1 – Scrambled Eggs or Omelet
My sons see me eating scrambled eggs literally every morning. My five-year-old even calls them a superfood since he has heard me say it so much.
The best thing about scrambled eggs is how quick they are to make. It takes less than five minutes to make one of the healthiest breakfasts you can eat.
Put some butter in a hot pan. Mix up the eggs with a pinch of salt (don’t add milk). Plate them once they get fluffy. Finish with some cracked pepper over the top and ketchup on the side.
Eggs are also perfect for novice-level experimentation. Throw in some sauteed onions or cheese. Serve with hot sauce or salsa.
Knowing how to make scrambled eggs means your kids will always have a healthy breakfast.
#2 – Burger
The burger, along with number six on this list, is something that all men should know how to make.
Sure, there are tons of different ways to make a burger and, yes, I am sure that many of those recipes will be much more delicious than how I do it, but the point here is to make it simple for your kids so they are more likely to remember how to do it themselves.
All I mix with the meat is a healthy amount of salt, pepper, and garlic powder. I melt some cheese over the top, toast the bun a bit alongside the burger, and then top with crispy lettuce and raw red onion. A little ketchup and mustard and I’m good to go.
It takes about ten minutes from start to finish. Is it gourmet? No. But it’s delicious and easy.
#3 – Grilled Cheese
The grilled cheese was something I had been making wrong my whole life. I would always start by spreading butter on the outside of the bread before putting it in the pan.
Then I realized I didn’t need to do that and I could just put a hunk of butter directly into the pan to melt and then place the sandwich in the pan. Much easier!
And if a little butter is good then a lot must be better, right?!
That’s my philosophy when it comes to grilled cheese. I want that sandwich swimming in melted butter. It makes it so crispy and rich! It’s a bit decadent and probably not the healthiest, but it sure is comforting on a cold afternoon!
Add some bacon or tomato if you’re feeling ambitious.
#4 – Roast Chicken
I made a pan of roast chicken thighs last night and I am convinced that roast chicken with garlic is what Heaven smells like.
I usually do thighs since they are so absurdly cheap. A package of ten thighs is a fraction of the cost of breasts. Also, I don’t have a preference between white and dark meat.
Along with the salt and pepper, I sprinkled some rosemary and thyme. I also added a handful of garlic cloves and chopped up onions.
Four hundred degrees for about an hour will get the skin brown and crispy. Will some people say the temperature or the cook time is wrong. Yup. But the great thing about chicken is that it’s hard to screw up. It’s not like a roast or a steak that needs to be a certain temperature (rare, medium rate, etc.) to be appetizing. If you accidentally cook chicken for too long or at too high an oven temperature, you won’t even notice (provided you don’t burn it). Just make sure it’s cooked thoroughly.
Honestly, roasting anything (chicken, broccoli, potatoes) with garlic and herbs is delicious.
#5 – Mashed Potatoes
Few things please a crowd like a big, hot bowl of mashed potatoes. And everyone has their own way of making them. None are wrong.
I’ll only peel the potatoes first if they are russet potatoes. Just a personal preference.
Into the mash I’ll load salt, pepper, garlic powder, butter, and heavy cream. I am heavy-handed with pretty much everything. In my mind, mashed potatoes aren’t supposed to be light. They are supposed to be fortifying. They are supposed to almost be a meal, themselves!
Sprinkle some cheddar cheese over the top and they’ll really stick to your ribs!
#6 – Steak
Men are weird when it comes to cooking steak or burgers, especially with a BBQ. They’ll say, “Oh, I’m really good at BBQ-ing!”, as if it’s super difficult.
Ah, yes. You’re good at placing meat on a heat source and then staring at it for five minutes. You even flip it once or twice.
Are you a wizard?!
In reality, most meat is very easy to cook. Just season it well and make sure you don’t severely under or over cook it.
With steaks, I’ll pat the meat dry with a paper towel and leave it out on a plate for a bit so it loses its chill from the refrigerator. Right before it goes in the pan, I’ll salt it liberally on both sides.
I don’t time it. I don’t poke it. I don’t stick it with a meat thermometer. I just wait until it gets a good sear on both sides and then I take it off the heat to rest for a few minutes.
Once on the plate, I’ll add some cracked pepper over the top. Sometimes I’ll have it with a sauce or aioli of some kind.
I’m not picky and you shouldn’t be either. Again, as long as it isn’t severely under or over cooked, and if you seasoned it to your liking, it will be great and will please all but the most snobbish.
#7 – Stir Fry
Stir fry was my dish of choice when my wife and I got together. She is a vegetarian and it was easy to add some meat to the whole dish after I split out her portion.
Stir fry is a great “whatever’s in the fridge” meal.
Start out with garlic, onions, and a little oil in a pan and then add… anything you want.
Broccoli? Spinach? Chickpeas? Chicken? Beef?
Sure! Pile it on!
It won’t taste bad. It can’t! There is no way for it to go wrong and you’ll have a healthy, well-rounded meal.
Why no vegetables on this list, you ask? Because I often just eat the vegetables raw while I’m cooking everything else. I will snack on raw green beans, sugar snap peas, carrots, or peppers as I am bustling around preparing the main dishes.
My main point with all of this, is that we, as parents, are always thinking about how we can provide our children with all the information they need to navigate the world without us.
I like to use clothes to communicate lessons to my kids. But there are so many other things we need to teach them. Cooking is one of those things.
When I think back to when I was a young adult just starting out, I really had no idea how to cook anything. None of my friends did. Sure, we could maybe make a plate of pasta with a jar of sauce, but none of would have been able to cook an entire dinner for ourselves or someone else. And that kind of kept us all feeling like little kids in a world of grown-ups.
That’s something I want to change when it comes to my own kids. I want them to go into the world with the expectation that people should know how to cook. And, again, it will give them a leg-up when it comes to dating.
We all know that cooking for yourself is healthier and saves money. But it’s also about confidence. Just like knowing how to dress makes you feel like more of a man, so does knowing how to cook.