With the colleges taking in new students across India, a lot of our students will also move to new cities and someplace far from home. While moving from out of your parents’ home is exciting and fun, it all becomes a bit daunting when it comes to food arrangements in the new place! Yes, there are hostels, paying guests accommodations and tiffin centres but parents being parents, would never be satisfied in the context of their children’s health. One can definitely opt for a take-out service or a restaurant, but along with health concerns, our children on a shoestring budget can only afford them minimally.
Well, as situations might have it, one has to resort to a solution. And the solution can only be one thing- Independence. As absurd as it may sound, cooking your way through Independence is the only response to tackle this issue. It doesn’t take a “know-it-all” to state that cooking is a life skill. But still, as Rob Rees chairman of the School Food Trust chairman states for BBC, “Fundamentally, being able to cook is a life skill which helps children grow into healthier adults…..” Like many other skills, the emphasis on teaching and learning shouldn’t be less.
Teaching children how to cook begins at home with very simple exercises. Say, asking them to fetch some water from the tap or washing and peeling vegetables or even just standing and overseeing adults cook. For instance, my parents always employed my help when on holidays or preparing meals for festivals. And that, in turn, helped in many ways. I got to help my parents and have a sense of pride in helping my confidence and self-esteem. My fear of sharp things and hot things eventually went away as I started chopping and boiling food. And, when I moved out of my home, everybody was satisfied with the food front. “At least, he can feed himself right”, that’s what my father said.
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While in a kitchen you not only teach your children how to cook but also, many other things. Children measure, count and use fractions at the same time while cooking and understanding the concepts such as boiling, evaporation and condensation. While cooking multiple cuisines, you are enabling them to be receptive to other cultures at the same time while embracing theirs. And the confidence the children have when they have helped an adult doing “adult things”.
Along with these advantages, children prefer to eat what they have cooked. So, they might try the greens and other nutritious vegetables of they have prepared or at least have helped in preparing. Trust me, I have had many greens like this. And never I got scared of sharp knives, cooking fires and other dangerous things in the kitchen because I knew my way around them and I learnt to work with them.
It’s how these little ways facilitated my interest in cooking and made me independent, in a way. Agreed that I am not a chef, but at least, I can feed myself right without having to shell out a lot of money or getting ill. It’s at least one step towards a long road of ïndependce, that comes with living alone.