Over the last months I’ve had the immense pleasure of talking about cooking with families who’ve all had their own approaches to life, unique parenting styles and diverse cultural backgrounds.
Today I’m talking with mom of three, Shadi, and her oldest son, Bardia (9) while little Aram (3) pops in and out of the conversation. She has a beautiful way of working with her kids that I find very inspiring. She talks about family life in the kitchen and giving her kids freedom while cooking, both really important topics that often come back here at Little Cookery.
I can’t help but wonder whether the ease with which she includes Bardia and Aram is because she comes from a part of the world (Iran) where cooking and food are so ingrained in the culture. Growing up I remember my Iranian friends all seemed to share a deep love for their time together as a family and often would go out of their way to share meals together.
I see that same appreciation for food with my husband’s family, who are Syrian. Although the Iranian and Syrian cultures are no doubt different, I feel that there is a great similarity in the approach to the togetherness in the kitchen and at the dinner table and a strong focus on quality food.
It’s the type of environment I always strived to create for my own kids, which is one of the reasons why I’ve enjoyed talking with Shadi so much and have learnt so much from her.
I’m hope you’ll find her insights as inspiring as I have.
Social worker Shadi and her husband are originally from Iran but have lived in Canada for many years. Their background has certainly been the greatest of influences when it comes to the approach to family and food.
It’s how we were raised
“We live in the kitchen so the kids are always involved. It’s how we were raised and it’s how I raise my kids.” Shadi says.
Shadi seems effortless in her approach to having her kids involved in cooking.
“We cook a lot at my house and I make sure we all work together in the kitchen, no matter how young the kids are.” explains Shadi.
Food pairings and making ingredients from scratch
Aram explains how to make his favourite dish (spaghetti with mushroom and grilled cheese) and it’s clear that even at his young age, he feels completely at home in the kitchen and working side-by-side with mom.
It’s not just meals that they prepare together, the kids are involved in making their own ingredients as well such as yoghurt and cheese.
As a result of her approach to involvement and creating their own core ingredients, the kids speak with a deep confidence about food pairings and procedures.
A worthwhile time investment
Shadi is currently on mat leave with her youngest and invests this opportunity by taking the time to involve the kids in all things cooking.
Shopping with kids
She also makes a point of involving them in the shopping but, as every parent will undoubtedly understand, shopping with kids isn’t always easy.
Her solution? “We use different strategies for shopping together. For example, I get them involved using their own lists. This teaches them that they are important, their opinions matter and they are trusted to make decisions.” Shadi explains.
Another tactic she employs is letting them choose a simple treat at the end of the shopping expedition using their own money.
She doesn’t opt for quick treats like a piece of candy but rather let’s them buy something like pancake powder that they can use when they get home.
Treating kids with respect
As we speak about this a bit more she touches on something vital. Something I always stress in my classes and books.
She says: “One important thing is that we don’t treat them like they don’t understand or are not capable, we respect them. This is something I learned along the way. “ Shadi explains.
Do you want to get your own cooking routine with your kids and getting fluent at it like Shadi? Get the Little Cookery course and get started today!
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