Recently I posted Ten Tip For Picky Toddlers, a list of some simple things you can do to help turn your child into a more adventurous eater. One of the tips was to cook with your child. If you are anything like I was when I first started having young helpers in the kitchen this tip can be a little daunting. When do you start? What can your child do? How do you include her? Where is the best place to begin?
Today let's begin with the last one, where to begin. My answer is mise en place. According to Wikipedia, mise en place means to 'put in place' or 'everything in place.' It is a French saying to help make sure you have everything ready, before you have your child join you in the kitchen. I learned this the hard way. I cannot tell you the number of times I had to stop in the middle of cooking with Audrey and find a bowl, chop an ingredient, or stop to read the recipe. When you start with young cooks this is a recipe for boredom or disaster.
|Mise en place|
Notice the cheese is shredded, milk measured, and seasoning ready. If Audrey was going to help shred the cheese I would make sure to have the container, shredder, and a towel ready. When you begin cooking with children this is the simplest step and the one that is most likely to help you succeed. Read the recipe first and then make sure your mise en place is done. If your French is rusty or non-existent then find the pronunciation so you too can sound like a fancy French Chef when you are speaking about your cooking skills. Or a Swedish one...