"How does cooking make you feel?"
It's a question we often asked our chefs over the summer. Obviously, here at Stir Krazy we're a little bit biased as we LOVE to cook, so it's wonderful to hear from the visiting children exactly what it is that draws them to the kitchen.
We've gathered here a small selection of our favourite answers. As adults it can be all too easy to start thinking of cooking as a 'chore'. It's a pleasure to remind ourselves of the magic of making a dish and sharing it with those we love.
"Like I can do anything!" - Zara
Amazingly, this was the most popular answer we received! The kitchen is often seen as an 'adult' area and certainly it is incredibly important to be grown-up and sensible when cooking. But it seems that giving children the autonomy to get stuck in with food makes them feel like they can achieve great things. And they're absolutely right! We are always on hand to supervise or assist with any of the more 'hazardous' activities like chopping, but otherwise the treats your chefs take home are made 100% entirely by them. That's a lot of responsibility, but the pay-off is a huge sense of achievement.
"I love to cook" - Poppy
Poppy chose to keep things simple and just conveyed her love for cooking! And why not? Cooking is fun! You get to create something amazing entirely from scratch, there are so many colours and textures involved (seriously, we lost count of the number of children who told us they love the softness of sifted flour!), it's great for experimenting, PLUS you're constantly trying out new skills like peeling, chopping, sifting, rolling, stirring, spooning, whisking - the list goes on! Great for developing confidence, knowledge of ingredients and motor skills too.
"Amazing!" - Eve
General positive affirmations were another popular answer. It seems that children feel amazing, good, happy, excited and fun when they're cooking in the kitchen. In recent years both baking and mental health experts have spoken of the benefits of baking in warding off symptoms of anxiety and depression, so it makes sense that cooking is often used as a mood-booster. The satisfaction of creating something from scratch, the tactility of using your hands, the excitement of bringing multiple elements together, the anticipation of how it will turn out and the pleasure of sharing your creation in a social environment. We think that's pretty amazing too.
"I like to get mesee" - Ruby
Getting messy! The often-enjoyed but less-acknowledged aspect of baking that gets lots of little (and big!) chefs excited. Where else can you legitimately throw flour around? Plunge your hands into a bowl of sticky mess? Squish tomatoes, crack eggs and slosh milk? Cooking is so wonderfully tactile that it goes hand-in-hand with getting a little messy sometimes. We'd even argue it's part of the fun! And we found that our children never had a problem cleaning up after themselves once the goods were in the oven. In fact, spirits were so high the clear-up was often turned into a big game! Now if only we could take that enthusiasm for washing up home with us ...
A huge thank you to all our messy, amazing, enthusiastic and ambitious chefs for sharing their thoughts with us. We'll be back soon with more cooking workshops, see here for dates. And in the meantime, keep cooking!
Love from Ruth and the Stir Krazy Kids Team x