Giving the Gift of Cooking - Toys for Tots

Raquel StecherAbout Me
Blogger at Thoughtful Eating and Vintage Brand New. Please add my to your circles.

Carlos and I made an agreement that we would set a $50 budget for Christmas, $20 for a gift to the other person and $30 for a donation to Toys for Tots. Seeing as I work in the book industry, my first instinct was to give books (or books with toys attached) for my Toys for Tots donation. Then as I was browsing through Barnes & Noble, I came up with another idea. Why not give the gift of cooking? I saw these wonderful cooking sets (see above) that were $15 retail each. I got two and this is my donation.

So why the gift of cooking? It worries me how many people do NOT know how to cook. And not only do they NOT know how to cook, they outright refuse to learn. This angers me greatly. First of all, many of these people do not cook simply because they believe cooking makes them inferior. Basically, they want others to cook for them. Whether it be restaurant staff, their parents, their grandmothers, their significant others, a hired cook, etc. They want to feel superior to others and they think that cooking their own meals is the same as slave labor. In my honest opinion, those people are complete morons. Being able to cook for yourself makes you independent. You can take care of yourself. You don't need to depend on anyone else for food. You can make your own breakfast, lunch and dinner. Your leftovers are the envy of the office during lunch time. 

To those of you who think you are superior by not cooking, I just want to say that I think it makes you codependent not superior. Cooking for yourself and being able to cook for others is a worthwhile skill. You save money, control the quality of ingredients, reduce your exposure to preservatives and other chemicals (especially when cooking with whole foods), and you can improve or maintain your health by making sure those meals are healthy ones.

How can learning how to cook be good for children? The measurements in cooking help with their math skills. They can learn the difference between teaspoons, tablespoons, cups, grams, ounces, etc. It also helps them learn to follow instructions. If you follow a recipe to a tee, the end result will be food. But if you miss a key ingredient or step, the end result will be bad! Cooking helps kids social skills by interacting with their parents or family members when they cook or cooking with friends or with serving food. Cooking has always been a very social thing to me. Eating by yourself is no fun. Sharing a big container of your special homemade cookies with all of your friends, even better. Cooking can become a form of play. Gathering all the ingredients can be sort of like a treasure hunt. Mixing them all together and seeing as a lump of ingredients turns into an edible delight is very satisfying. The best part though, is the final reward: a dish that the child can be proud of and enjoy. Teaching children how to cook at an early age will only help them in the future. They'll grow up to be adults who can whip up a healthy meal in their own homes and not have to rely on take-out or fast food for a weeknight dinner. Teaching children how to cook only empowers them.

I hope the kids who get these baking sets will make some fabulous cupcakes or desserts with them. I hope also that it will kindle a love for cooking that will help them in the future.

UPDATE: These donations plus more were stolen from a storage locker in Burlington, MA. Merry fucking Christmas.


♥The Sweet Life♥ (Alessandra) said...

Such a cute gift!!

The1stdaughter said...

I think these are perfect for kids! They will love them! I think cooking is just like books for kids. You start young enough and they will naturally develop a love for it. My son adores being in the kitchen! He's especially inclined to stop in when my hubby's making something with chocolate of course, but really it could be anything as long as he can help. And it's those types of things and skills that help kids to grow up to become independent, healthy and self-sufficient members of society. Very important. Excellent gift choice!

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