Welcome to Cooking with Kids from Bounce Energy! Think of the kitchen as a science lab or a living classroom. It contains so many elements that can provide hands-on learning opportunities for your kids – measuring, learning temperature, time, chemistry, fermentation, and more. Join us as we show you how to introduce your kids to the best room in the house!
We stay on the subject of the oven for this next installment of Bounce Energy’s Cooking with Kids where we explore the key safety features of working on the Stove top. Some kitchens have separate stove tops from ovens, but typically, they’re an all in one unit.
I recently began teaching my 8-year-old how to use the stove top, and it’s bringing her pride and joy. Her first and often cooked recipe is Scrambled Eggs. I love seeing her confidence grow but more so, love that she’s cooking her own breakfast! We will cover Iris scrambled eggs further on down the article.
Let’s go over the rules of cooking with children over a gas or electric stove top. Set the rules now, and they’ll live with them for life.
1) Sleeves Up
Long sleeves can easily catch on fire when tending to a hot skillet or lifting a pot off the stove, so first things first, make sure your sleeves are rolled up to your elbows. Better yet, encourage wearing short sleeved shirts.
2) Turning on the Electric Stove Top
If your stove top is electric, then show your child how to safely turn the dial to the plate temperature you need. Teach them that while the plate may be black and cold, the plates begin to heat up quickly and can be hot despite their lack of a glowing orange appearance.
3) Turning on the Gas Stove Burners
Gas stove tops are a whole other story. It will be some time before I am confident with my daughter turning the gas on herself. Gas turned on with no flame can be lethal. The rule in my kitchen is that she doesn’t turn on the stove top unless an adult is doing it with her.
We turn the dial, listen for the gas to release, wait for the click, and watch the flame appear. She puts her hand over my hand to get the feel for the dial. Once the flame is on, show them how to control the intensity of the flame by turning the dial either left or right. Slow and steady is the key when working with this live gas flame.
Don’t forget to teach them one of the most important rules of all: to turn the dial to ‘off’ when the meal is cooked.
4) Handles Inward
One of the first things I learned in a kitchen was to always turn the handles of skillets and pots toward the back wall or away from your body. Accidents can happen with handles sticking out and being bumped. A boiling pot of grease or water could be disastrous.
It’s okay to have the handle out in front while sautéing a dish or stirring a soup, but before you leave the pot alone to continue bubbling, turn that handle back inward.
5) Tending to the Fire
Cooking on the stove top comes with a bit of learning and finesse about how to gauge the rate of food cooking. This will only come with time and experience, but you have to start somewhere in teaching children how to work with a gas or electric heat source.
Keep the heat on low for them to get a feel for how things cook at a low temperature. For example, cooking a stir fry is probably not the best meal to get them started!
A soup or a stew is a great meal to make on the stove as you can set the flame on low and let it simmer all day. This gives your child the opportunity to use pot holders, and learn how to lift the hot lid to stir the goods inside.
6) Start with an Easy Meal
Scrambled eggs are a wonder meal that can be whipped up for a hungry family in no time. So why not use this recipe as your first one to cook with your child at the helm?
Iris Scrambled Eggs
- Begin by cracking 2 eggs per person into a medium sized mixing bowl. If your child is new to cracking eggs, this is a great teaching moment.
- Add 1/4 cup of milk per two eggs, along with a pinch of salt and whisk the eggs and milk together.
- Grease a small frying pan with oil or butter.
- Allow your child to pour the mixture into the skillet before putting on the burner.
- Once the skillet is on the cold burner, then turn the flame or plate on low.
- Allow to cook for 1-2 minutes then with the edge of a spatula, scrape the eggs off the bottom of the pan so the raw mixture hits the pan bottom. This process forces your child to monitor the eggs closely, and learn first hand how a chemical reaction changes the solidity of food.
- Once the egg is firm and no longer jiggly, it can be served on plates.
Now bask in the glow of your child’s pride, and enjoy their eggs with them!
7) Clean Up
Wiping down the mess on a stove top is an important part of safety. Spilled oil could potentially catch on fire, and spilled pancake mix will keep on cooking making long term clean up a nightmare. Teach them to clean as they go, and make it easy on everyone in the long run.