Cooking with Kids

Food Is Our Love Language

Food is my love language. It’s a way I show I care.

Food is my love language. It’s a way I show I care.

I recently invited my husband’s family over for dinner. It was his birthday week, and I wanted to do something for him. We don’t always celebrate the adults’ birthdays in the family. But I was feeling like wanted to celebrate my husband — and create an opportunity for the family to get together.

At the time I extended the invitation, I genuinely thought I had a lot of time. I thought my work was in a good place, the house was in a good place, and I could plan, prep and make a big meal. But life didn’t go that way. And so, I found myself scrambling a bit.

A couple of days before our dinner, I asked my son what dessert we should make daddy for his birthday. “A cake,” my son said.

“What type of cake?” I asked.

He paused for a moment.


My son is observant. While my husband is not much of a sweets person, his dessert preference probably would be cheesecake. But I wasn’t sure I had time to pull that off.

Then, I started describing the food menu to my son. Daddy had asked for steaks. And we’d probably do a salad and some roasted vegetables, perhaps a baked potato bar.

My son leaned forward and said, “Mommy, that sounds like a lot. I think I’m going to need to help you.”

My heart melted. That understanding of how much work goes into preparing a meal typically comes from the other women in my life — my mom, grandma, aunt, best friend. And here was my son, all of 5 years old, recognizing that cooking is a lot of work, and yet, not viewing it as a chore. He saw it as something he wanted to help with.

Mommy, that sounds like a lot. I think I’m going to need to help you.

I often feel like food is my love language … It’s something I can do for others that shows I care. And when my son asks if we’re going to make our Halloween cookies this year and if I can make his special Valentine’s Day chocolates again, it means something to me.

Maybe my son’s love language will be food as well.

Experiences like this conversation with him remind me why we spend time together in the kitchen. And why we show love around food. It’s so he can have a relationship not just with food but with cooking that is positive and joyful. And it’s moments like these that make me think maybe — just maybe —what I’m doing is working.

Our First Apple Pie

Flipping through an America’s Test Kitchen magazine, I discovered a recipe for strawberry pie. It was beautiful and summery, and it required no oven time — perfect for the hot weekend. It seemed like a lovely treat for Labor Day weekend. It was also a clear acknowledgment that we were still very much in summer.

My son loves strawberries, so I showed him the picture of the pie. He shrugged. “How about we make an apple pie instead?” he asked.

Why Kids Need to Go Grocery Shopping

Why Kids Need to Go Grocery Shopping

At one time, my parents insisted I should go shopping by myself. Leave the baby at home; it will be easier, they said. They were right — it most definitely would have been easier. But I would have missed out on some really great memories, and my son would have missed out on a lot too. I insist that even though it can be annoying, taking kids with you to the store is smart. Here’s why.

Cooking on Vacation

Cooking on Vacation

A lot of our vacations with our son have been to visit family. Sometimes we add on adventures and stay in hotels. We’ve also rented a condo. You’d think that vacation time would be about not cooking, but somehow, when you’re on vacation, it feels different. It’s less rushed. It’s more enjoyable to sit and eat what you’ve prepared. It’s about gathering with family. It’s time together preparing the meal and time together savoring it. It feeds the body and the soul.

Simple Meals, Simple Tasks — But Lasting Memories and Important Lessons

Simple Meals, Simple Tasks — But Lasting Memories and Important Lessons

As we were pulling into the garage, my son declared that he wanted to help make the potatoes. My heart leaped from my chest. It has been a little while since we'd cooked anything more than pancakes on the weekends together.

Why We Cook: Making Memories in the Kitchen – Super Bowl Edition

At this point, he was excited to help with the rest. He added spices to the cauliflower and helped to put them on a baking sheet. He also helped season the steaks. And he was eager to join me outside at the grill.

It was a wonderful night with him, but it was probably just a fluke, I thought. But then, his interest continued this weekend.

Of Muffins and Memories

Well, around 7 o’clock on Sunday evening, my son bounced into my bedroom as I was getting my pajamas on.

"Mommy, we haven’t made muffins yet!" he said. 

Surprised that he'd remembered, I said, "You’re right. Would you like to?"

He jumped up and down. "Yes, yes, yes!" he exclaimed.