In this series about Little Cooks I talk with kids and parents who have a love for cooking and family time in the kitchen. This Wednesday I’m talking with 13-year-old Jaxon Boyd, dad Scott and mom Gen. We talk about all things family recipes, canning jam and messy kitchens.
Childhoods of famous chefs like Jamie Oliver show a recurring theme of how their love for food started when they were young. It would carry them through their childhood and teenage years and lead to a deep fondness for foods and cooking.
I adore interviewing teenagers about cooking because it feels like I am witnessing their love for cooking grow into something big. It’s so inspiring to hear young people talk about something they are passionate about. Social media and Netflix, mobile phones and tablet are all so easy to consume for kids, but working hard at something and trying by all means to get better at it, even if your age doesn’t always make that easy is a trait worth admiring.
Jaxon is a teenager who enjoys cooking. He loves learning new recipes, something his parents are eager to encourage by offering him time in the kitchen whenever he wants and cooking camps.
A drive to cook and learn, like Jaxon clearly has, is exactly what I hope kids will get out of the Little Cookery cookbook as they grow older.
A love for cooking
Even though Jaxon’s mom is not too fond of cooking, she explains that she always made the effort to include her boys in the kitchen from a young age. “Cooking is not my thing but it is something that needs to be done so you might as well make the best of it.” says Gen.
She makes a conscious effort to try and keep it fun so that, as they grow up, it will help them to make good and healthy choices.
When the family started out cooking with the kids they were encouraged to use normal kitchen tools and techniques. According to Gen it’s all a matter of teaching them properly.
“At first I really had to get over the mess that the kids made in the kitchen. I had to allow it and accept it as part of the activity.” says Gen. “I had to grow patience but as they got more experienced it was rewarded. The more you allow the mess, the better it gets”.
Even if she felt uneasy over the mess, it appears this was not something Jaxon remembers.
He goes on to melt my heart by describing his mom as “being the most fun to be around and she’s good at cooking. My mom makes me laugh in the kitchen.”
Hearing a teenager say that about his mom is just the most beautiful thing to me! I would hope that my own kids would say the same about me when they grow up!
Out of the 3 siblings, Jaxon is the one that likes cooking the most. The other two enjoy it and will prepare dinner, but Jaxon is the one who scours his cookbooks for recipes and is driven to learn new things.
“I was 7 when I started cooking. My mom had my brother’s and I take turns each Friday- we would choose the meal and then help cook it.” says Jaxon.
He remembers how he really enjoyed learning to cook and going through the process. Nowadays, he likes to be alone in the kitchen and is described as being very capable and confident in the kitchen.
Gen’s online recipe groups and cookbooks form the main inspiration for new cooking projects.
The family also has some treasured generational cookbooks that belonged to Jaxon’s great-grandmother and his grandmother.
Jaxon also has his own cookbook he got after attending summer cooking camp. He learned to make a mean peach ice cream (that will get you anywhere in life!).
Jaxon has a great love for baking birthday cakes and cookies and is keen to get them moist and chocolate-y. “Make sure not to overcook them” is his solid advice.
He’s also keen on trying to prepare other, less conventional types of food like canning jams.
All this talk of ice-cream, cake, cookies and jam makes me wonder what sweet recipe he will be following next.