Raising Kids in America

Sunday, December 31, 2006

French Toast and your Kids...

Your kids love to help out with cooking and there is no better bonding experience for them to enjoy than cooking with Mom or Dad. First things first is a supervised washing of the hands by you. The frog in the back pocket of junior has to go. Those dirty fingernails from the mud pies have got to go. Good hygene in the kitchen should be drilled in at every opportunity.

Today we are making French Toast. Feel free to add or delete any ingredients but let the kids mix it all up and have a blast doing it. Kids are funny, you can place a plate of food in front of them if they had nothing to do with making it and they will snub a wet runny nose at it. Get them involved in the cooking process and it becomes their creation. Mud pies that are edible for once.

First off, depending on the age of your kids make sure you have a clean work area that can be cleaned up easily. Get them involved in the cleaning process. I use the kitchen table. All the more little bodies you can get involved in the process. Send the oldest to get the ingredients and let the little ones use the utensiles. We are going to need one medium size mixing bowl, a mixing table fork for the kids and an egg cracking bowl with a spoon for the shell fragments that will inevitably have to be scooped out by you. For every ten pieces of French toast you are going to need five eggs. A half cup milk, one teaspoon of sugar for every egg and a pinch of salt. One half teaspoon of Cinnamon or Nutmeg adds a kick but that is a personal favorite for my girls. Have the kids beat the eggs till the chicken pleads for a stay of execution. Add the sugar and salt and spices. Beat it till the sugar is desolved in the egg mix. Slowly mix in the milk.

Heat up your frying pan on low heat. Low heat is important to let the kids really smell what they are making. Less than medium and a little hotter than low. Add a generous portion of salted butter. Take your store bought bread single slice and dip it in the French Toast batter on one side and with a fork or spoon flip it over to the other side. One or two second soak for each side and transfer to the friying pan. Cook till golden brown for about five or six minutes on the first side and two or three on the second side and serve up with maple syrup. If you don't want the sugar high in the kids from the maple syrup then top them off with some butter or sour cream.

My eleven year old has been making this little treat since she was ten by herself. Granted Dad is watching but she devours breakfast when she can cook for herself and her sisters and parents. Her little sister are learning it as well. That is a good thing. Kids want to be adults. They just have to learn how to do it and cooking with them is the greatest opportunity you will ever have to teach them.

Have fun with the kids in the kitchen.