A skill for life – teach your kids to cook

When I first moved from Darwin to Victoria to go to university – I was stunned by the number of people who couldn’t cook for themselves – at all!

Even though we got to eat in the cafeteria five nights a week as part of living on campus – that still left two meals where we had to fend for ourselves.

Moving away from home hadn’t removed my love for cooking, and so I used to muscle my way into our communal kitchen, around the other students making two-minute noodles, mugs of milo and spaghetti jaffles, to cook up various dishes which I enjoyed.

These weekly cook-ups turned into make-shift cooking classes – with my housemates quizzing me on the most basic of things – like cooking pasta and rice … which I will get to in just a moment.

My housemates thought the fact I knew how to cook a descent meal for myself was really impressive! I mean this wasn’t fine dining food – just a few casseroles and stuff like that. I even cooked everyone a roast one weekend. Everyone loved it, appreciated it and thought I was so skillful.

But really, I wasn’t skillful. My mother, knowingly or not, had taught me how to be self-sufficient.

It boggles my mind that parents are sending their young adults out into the world – with no cooking skills at all!

The parents of many of my housemates had also overlooked other skills too – like teaching their nest-leavers how to use a washing machine. I conducted many lessons in this regard too. This included explaining that jumping in the washing machine and pushing all the clothes down so you can do three week’s washing in one load was a pretty ineffective way of getting clothes clean. But, let’s focus on the cooking skills for now.

This week, if you have teenage kids at home – why not put some time aside to teach them a few basic skills. If you have already done this – then well done! Just remember, unless they are passionate about cooking, they don’t need to be the next Junior Masterchef . However, as much as you may or may not like it, they are going to move out one day and they will need to know how to feed themselves.

Being able to drive to Maccas is not an adequate skill to ensure your young person’s survival in the big wide world.

So, without further ado, let’s start with how to cook rice.

Even for people who do know how to cook – making perfect fluffy rice can be an elusive talent!

So, here are some tips and tricks to think about. This recipe serves four generous portions. If you have leftovers – you can always make my awesome fried rice recipe.

PERFECT FLUFFY RICE

  • 1 mug-sized cups of uncooked basmati rice
  • 1  1/2 mug-sized cups of water.

Method:

Place the rice and the water in a large, microwave-proof bowl, uncovered.

Place in the microwave and cook, on high, for 12 minutes. The cooking time may vary depending on your microwave.

Once cooked – all the liquid should have been absorbed into the rice. Use a fork to fluff up the rice and serve with your favourite curry, casserole etc.

Some Variations

Once you have the basic principle down – you can start adding some other flavours and textures.

You can use cold chicken stock, instead of water, and a knob of butter to add flavour.

Or, you can make saffron rice by using the chicken stock, butter and popping in a good pinch of saffron before you place the rice in the microwave. It will make the rice look amazing and the delicate flavours of the saffron really make rice something special.

A good way to educate kids that are big or small about cooking – is to let them help you in the kitchen. Empower them, make it fun. Who cares if they make a mess or don’t do it right the first time. As long as they aren’t getting burnt or chopping their fingers off – the most important thing is you are giving them the gift of a skill for life!

Stay tuned to Uforic Food for even more teen-friendly recipes you can share with the young people in your house. Even if they rebel and leave home only able to reheat baked beans – you will always know you gave it your best shot!

Be Inspired~

Lisa

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About Lisa Mary Foreman @ Uforic Food

I'm the creator Uforic Food - a blog compiled by three journalists whose talents lie in telling fabulous food stories. I'm on a journey to prove you can be healthy and passionate about food at the same time. Ruza lives in the city and is all about sharing her urban food experiences. Laura is the domestic goddess of the group and loves all things food, family and from the heart. Join us at the Uforic Food table where we share recipes, reviews, and all things food. If you'd like to get in touch, email me at lisamary@uforicfood.com

Posted on March 23, 2011, in Cooking techniques, Quick and easy, Random thoughts, Side dishes and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I remember when you and Dave were little tacks you would sit up at the breakfast bar and wanna help me prepare meals, make cakes and lick the spoon and bowls out. Roll pastry and make scones, gettin your hands sticky was all part of the fun… And I cant forget making play dough and making all the different colours… Greatest memories and now look where you are !!
    I am very proud of all your acheivements
    Love you
    Mum xxxxx

  2. I remember when you and Dave were little tacks you would sit up at the breakfast bar and wanna help me prepare meals, make cakes and lick the spoon and bowls out. Roll pastry and make scones, gettin your hands sticky was all part of the fun… And I cant forget making play dough and making all the different colours… Greatest memories and now look where you are !!
    I am very proud of all your acheivements
    Love you
    Mum xxxxx

  3. I am amazed at what my unimates eat! Amazed and slightly horrified 😛
    My boyfriend is living off toast and potatoes! :S

  4. I’ll go with the YUK for McDonalds. My niece is just getting to the age when she’s being ‘peer-pressured’ into it, seeing it as a ‘wicked’ experience!
    Maybe not the same meaning of wicked that I grew up with but strangely apposite.

  5. Well I also come from an era where ‘wicked’ had two meanings – and to me, this fast food rubbish is the ‘evil’ definition.
    It’s sad that young people are getting peer-pressured into eating this stuff. I suppose, in a way, we thought it was cool too, when we were teenagers.
    I just hope that this wave of interest in food and cooking really continues and that, like the days of old, home-cooked food is what our kids will look forward to.
    I think there’s too many people in their 20’s and early 30’s that weren’t taught how to cook, I hope we all learn from that and realise it is such an important life skill. We owe it to our children to ensure that when they leave home … that they can actually look after themselves.
    Ok, I’ll get off my soap box now 🙂
    Thanks so much for stopping by. This is such an important conversation to be having!

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