We all want to share our passions with our kids. Whether it’s taking them fishing or encouraging them to pick up an instrument and play with you, having special moments of joy or teaching them a skill that they’ll always treasure is what being a parent is all about.
For many of us, food is a part of our heritage and culture, and it’s important that we pass on our traditions to the next generation. Do you remember rolling out fresh pasta with your nonna? Maybe she let you stand on a chair to stir the ragu as it started to heat up. Cooking is an important connection to our roots and loved ones, and it’s these special little memories that stay with us into adulthood.
How will you get your kids involved in cooking? It could be as simple as juicing fresh oranges or picking basil together out in the yard on weekend mornings! We think starting them off with some simple and playful recipes – and spending the afternoon cooking with them – can be all that’s needed to light that spark inside them.
Remember: Always supervise little ones when in the kitchen.
Make personal pizzas
Letting your kids express themselves through food can be a great way to get them interested in cooking. Putting aside time one evening to create DIY pizzas together is the perfect place to begin. Set them up with a pre-made pizza base and let them choose their own toppings.
Do they love cheese? Don’t just have mozzarella ready – go all out with parmigiano, provolone or even slices of halloumi! If they want to forgo staples like tomato and basil – and aren’t adventurous enough for seafood – have a variety of cured meats ready to go, like prosciutto and soppressa.
This is their chance to put together a dinner that they can take ownership of. Who knows, they may even learn what flavour combinations work (and don’t work) along the way!
Create fresh pasta
Pasta can be so much fun for kids to handle! It’s a step up in difficulty from making custom pizzas, and because there’s more prep involved, it should allow them to learn a few more cooking skills.
Start with their favourite pasta type – like farfalle (butterflies), chitarra (square spaghetti) or lumache rigate (little shells) – and then simply add whichever ingredients they love. Try fresh tomatoes, fresh capsicum, pancetta, any fresh herbs that you may be growing at home, and some olive oil or butter! Let your little helper be your guide, adding as much or as little of an ingredient as you both like.
It’s the perfect time to teach them how those ingredients affect the flavour or consistency of a dish. Want your pasta to be a little creamier? Add more shaved parmigiano. Prefer your meal extra salty? Toss in some olives or anchovies. Show them the difference between an unseasoned and well-seasoned meal; they’ll be experts in no time!
Fry up some finger food
Every kid goes through the phase of wanting to eat nothing but chicken nuggets. During dinner prep, you can put them in charge of some sides that satisfy their deep-fry-loving taste buds. Arancini, croquettes or stuffed Ascolana olives could be the secret to getting the kids to the table!
There are countless flavours of these finger foods available – including cheese, beetroot, pumpkin, mushroom and beef ragu. There’ll be something out there that can overcome a picky eater and broaden their palette (even if it’s just a little bit)!
Never forget that a passion for food starts with the finest ingredients and a special connection to cooking. Visco is here to help you get the first part right – how will you approach the second, and get your kids involved in cooking?