VegBlogger is an ethical vegetarian writer's blog, featuring posts on restaurant and product reviews, humane education, ethical vegetarianism, green living, raising vegetarian children, animal rights, vegan recipes, and more. My mission is to inform, inspire, and combat apathy.
I remember a couple of years ago watching Jamie Oliver's show. He had an episode where he mentioned that in America, as opposed to some other countries, people tend to keep the knives out of the hands of kids. He said that where he was from they taught them to use them properly. I agreed! I started letting my kids hold the sharp knives and teaching them to cut and chop with them. Of course they need more practice to get the technique down, but they have learned about safety and basic cutting and chopping.
My kids love to help cook, and whenever they ask if they can help I let them do it. Even if dinner is almost done I will find something for them to do, never wanting to turn them away. We have lots of cookbooks in our house and one of them is "Kids Can Cook: Vegetarian Recipes Kitchen-Tested by Kids for Kids." This is a good cookbook. It's all vegetarian recipes that are simple, so that kids can follow them.
We have made recipes out of this book in the past, but my daughter re-discovered it on the shelf this past week. We made the apple walnut salad and the cocoa pudding cake (which was delicious). We took the cocoa pudding cake to a vegan potluck and everyone liked it!
Kids love to cook. I urge you to let them. Get them excited about it. Use it as a learning experience. They will be learning about reading and following directions, measuring, how to clean and prepare food, etc. And then they are also excited about eating it. Here are some pictures of my daughter cooking from this cookbook this week. The very last picture is the breakfast that my daughter made herself one morning - whole wheat toast topped with natural peanut butter and organic jam, served with a pile of strawberries (she made her brother the same breakfast, only she gave him 3 strawberries, while she took 9 for herself).
Some teachers get it, and some don't. I'm talking about having a vegetarian student in their classroom. Last year my son's teacher didn't really get it and I can't say she made much of an effort to ever understand it. But this year, boy have we gotten lucky. His teacher this year has been fabulous. She so "gets it" that I wish she could move up to the next grade at the end of this one so she can remain his teacher next year, too!
There have been many things that have happened so far this year that let me know she gets it. First of all, she told me right from the start that she understood it. She has a vegan friend and so it's not all unfamiliar to her. She has been wonderful about looking out for ingredients in snacks and things that they are doing in the classroom. At Thanksgiving she had my son share with the class what he eats for his holiday meal since he is a vegetarian. She wanted the other kids to realize that people are different and celebrate differently. Around the holidays they also did a "how to cook a turkey" writing assignment, but she changed his to "how to make mashed potatoes," because he said that's what he likes in his holiday meal.
Today she did it again! This week at school they are celebrating Dr. Seuss week. So the first grade classes were going to be cooking green eggs and ham (cooking it in the classroom as part of the lesson). She told me that her class would not be participating in this. She said she thought about it and came to the conclusion that it would make my son uncomfortable to sit in the classroom with eggs and ham cooking. She said he would be subjected to the smells, watching it cook, kids talking about it and eating it after it cooked, etc. So she skipped that part of the Dr. Seuss lesson. I hugged her after she told me that!
This teacher gets it! Oh how I wish more did. It may be hit or miss in the coming years, but I'm sure loving him having her as his teacher this year. Two thumbs way up for those teachers who try to get the fact that they have a vegetarian or vegan child in their classroom. From veg parents eveywhere, we thank you!
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." - Dr. Seuss