day 16 – into the kitchen

Kids love to cook and there’s so much they can help with. Timing is vital – if you’re in a rush or feeling a tad cranky then maybe today’s not the day to make scones. But the more you invite them to the kitchen bench the more you’ll both benefit from it.

It helps to think of their ‘help’ in terms of smaller tasks. Like cracking an egg. Even small kids can learn to do this. Teach them to tap gently on the bowl while listening for the change in sound, that moment when the egg says, ‘Hey, that’s enough of that.’ Then, to avoid thumbs smashing into the egg, explain that the crack is a secret doorway. Show them how to insert thumb tips into the crack and ‘open’ the door outwards. They’ll pick it up, and will be pleased as punch when they do. Then there’s all those eggheads to draw faces on.

Making scones: involve kids in weighing and measuring, and if you’re not up for too much mess just let them cut the dough into scones or press them out with a cutter. Another 10 minutes and you can have a tea party, and maybe even invite a visitor.

Children soon learn about hotplates and hot ovens, fragile china and sharp knives, and the potential disaster of bottles left un-lidded. Include them as much as you can. They’re learning to be pros in the kitchen and, because they’re not bored and feel at least a little included, they’re less likely to be naughty.

Published by Dr Toni Risson

Dr Toni Risson is a storyteller and a cultural historian who has penned everything from children’s picture books to a PhD on the Magic of Lollies. An expert on the Greek cafe phenomenon, Toni curated Meet Me at the Paragon for the State Library of Queensland, and her latest book, Brisbane’s Greek Cafes: A Million Malted Milks, was a finalist in the 2019 Queensland Literary Awards. Having encountered the elegant Paragon Cafe in Katoomba as a child, Toni developed a fascination with silky oak panelling, bevelled mirrors and Art Deco wall lights long before she understood the stories behind Australia's iconic Greek cafe. She continues to document our lost café culture.

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