Have you ever worked hard on a meal only to find that when you bring it to the table, it's welcomed with a chorus of "Gross!", "Oooooh", "I hate that!". Your elation at finishing a meal and delivering it proudly to the table vanishes as your would-be customers share their opinions.
Well, if you haven't had that experience, send me your recipes. I've had that experience many times (and my husband assures me it's not my cooking). But, it was just such a night in our home which inspired one of my all-time favorite family traditions: Little Chef Nights.
Once a week, each of my kids picks a night to cook dinner. They plan the menu and cook the meal with me. They only have two rules: They can't repeat a meal 2 weeks in a row and it must be a meal from scratch (no boxed dinners). Other than that, the sky is the limit for them. I never realized how many great perks would come because of this tradition.
1. They learn how to cook. While we're preparing the meal, I teach them how to boil, saute, steam, broil, grill, etc.
2. They no longer complain about my meals. Since they don't want anyone complaining about what they make, they've learned not to complain about what I make either. It's heaven.
3. They know that at least once a week they'll have something for dinner that they absolutely love.
4. One-on One time. This is my favorite byproduct that I wasn't expecting. Dinner time has changed from mass chaos to much-anticipated one-on-one time. One child and I get to spend 30-45 minutes talking and laughing while getting dinner on the table. I look forward to my little chef nights.
I had to laugh when the other day I overheard my daughter's friend say, "You are so lucky!! I never get to make dinner for my family". Who knows. Maybe we'll start a trend. For now, though, I'm loving the help.