Why Your Kids Should Learn How To Cook This One Food
Updated: Mar 2
After spending the past 25 years of my life cooking for other people in their homes as a private chef, I've always wondered why more kids (and their adults) don't know how to properly cook probably one of the most basic foods on the planet. EGGS!
Eggs aren't only a perfect naturally gluten-free food, but they are an inexpensive protein that can be cooked in many different ways to be a part of a more complex meal. If mistakes happen during the learning process, at least you're not spending a bucket ton of your weekly grocery money on expensive ingredients, right?
As children, we are brought up learning that "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day". I'm a firm believer that if your kids know how to prepare a basic balanced breakfast, not only can they start their day off with a great meal, but mom and dad can also enjoy breakfast in bed, or better yet, sleeping in a bit longer knowing that the kids can cook their own breakfast.
Now before you go off the rails with "They will burn down the house or they will get hurt". I'm not advocating that your 4 year old become an unsupervised version of Master Chef Junior in your kitchen while you are passed out sawing logs upstairs in the bedroom. What I am saying however is that you as their parent, determine age appropriateness for when your kids start cooking, and further when they can start cooking unsupervised.
When I was a kid, my mom sat me on the kitchen counter at the age of 5 and had me crack eggs and use a whisk to begin to learn to make scrambled eggs. She then would supervise the cooking process until which time that when I got a little older, I was trusted to be safe enough in the kitchen to make my own breakfast, and then later, breakfast for the entire family. Cooking for my family gave me a rich sense of accomplishment and a huge boost of confidence. I'm sure that is what helped contribute to me becoming a professional chef later in life.
Choose the right cookware when teaching your kids to cook!
Whenever your kids are learning to cook, it's not the time to break out that super expensive fancy-schmancy cookware that you spent a boat ton of money on. For your kids, keep things basic, durable, and absolutely avoid non-stick. Yup, I said it, avoid non-stick cookware for kids.
The reasoning behind this is twofold, the first being that kids often don't understand the intricacies of cooking with non-stick cookware. Understanding the important factors such as non-stick pan coatings don't do well with prolonged exposure to high heat. Nor do they do well with metal cooking utensils being used in them. No matter how many times you tell your child that they aren't supposed to use that one metal spoon you have hidden in the back of your kitchen utensil drawer, the second you have your back turned, they've got it out, and have carved pretty pictures in your very expensive non-stick cookware.
Stick to an affordable and well made basic stainless steel skillet. Stainless steel cookware has many benefits, and should really be a part of your home kitchen cookware collection not only for the kids but also for the adults. Having your kids have their own "special pan" such as a stainless steel skillet will help control the urge to use and potentially damage parent's expensive cookware. Place it in a drawer or cabinet that they can reach, and teach them to use only that one pan when starting.
Stainless steel cookware can take a beating! You can be very aggressive with it when cooking, like using metal utensils in it, but also when cleaning using an aggressive scrubby, or even an SOS steel wool scrubby pad and repeated trips through the dishwasher. Plus, stainless steel can take exposure to high heat and can go stovetop directly into the oven for more advanced cooking without fear of damaging the surface or worse, leaching potentially toxic chemicals into your food like you can with improperly treated non-stick cookware.
Every Kid Should Know How To Cook Eggs!
Start your kids off with the basics and once they've become more confident in their egg cookery abilities, progress to more skilled egg preparation methods. Remember the benefits of the kids gaining confidence, being able to cook for themselves, and also for you! Cooking is an essential life skill that they will need to learn early on in life and will continue using for the rest of their lives!
Basic Egg Cooking For Kids:
Scrambled Eggs: Step one for every kid learning how to cook eggs. Scrambled eggs are the easiest to make, quick to cook, and relatively foolproof. Simply crack an egg or two into a separate bowl (to check for pesky shells that might get in there, pick those out) and then whisk them up. Pour into the pan that's been given a generous bit of non-stick cooking spray, or a little butter and oil blend.
Hard-Boiled Eggs: Place the eggs into a saucepan, fill with cold water up to one inch above the eggs. Place on high heat until the water comes to a boil, immediately turn off the heat and cover. Set a timer for 11 minutes, then plunge the eggs into a big bowl of ice water to immediately stop the cooking process and prevent green yolks.
Egg in a Hole: Butter both sides of a piece of bread, use a cookie cutter or a juice glass to cut out the center of the bread with your favorite design, leaving the crust intact. Place the buttered bread into a preheated skillet over medium heat, crack an egg into a little bowl or a coffee cup to check for shells first, then pour gently into the center cut out. Cook for approximately 3-5 minutes, flip, and continue cooking another 2-3 minutes. The cut out goes in the pan alongside the bread for a cool little mini piece of toast!
Here's a great video from Weelicious about how to make egg in a hole:
As their skills advance, add in additional ways to cook eggs for kids:
Omelets: Probably one of my favorite things growing up was learning the ability to make my own omelet. My basic scrambled egg prep method, now with fillings! Start with basic cheese, then add in some ham, or if you're lucky and your kids like veggies, their favorite leftover cooked veggies from last night's dinner! The biggest hint I can offer here is to make sure to use a generous amount of non-stick cooking spray and an extra-wide spatula to get underneath half of the omelet to avoid flipping eggs all over your cooktop.
Fried Eggs: Nothing better than repurposing that leftover bacon grease you've got from either making bacon that morning or keeping a jar of it in the fridge as we do. This method requires a bit more patience as you're flipping eggs that have a bit more fat that can spatter, but with practice, the kids can flip their eggs safely.
Frittata: Now they can make breakfast for the whole family by making their very own custom frittatas. Toss all their favorite fillings into their special stainless steel pan that's been well sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Pour over a few whisked eggs that they learned to scramble themselves that have been enhanced with a couple of tablespoons of heavy cream. Bake at 350 degrees until cooked and slightly golden brown.
Now that they're getting good! Let's get a little bit fancy!
After your kids have really gotten a comfortable grip on cooking eggs, they are going to want to learn something new and more challenging. This is when the parents get to really benefit from their kids' gourmet cooking skills! Brunch anyone?
Perfectly Poached Eggs: Poached eggs are very easy to prepare with your kids with one secret. An egg poaching pan insert simply rests inside their special stainless steel pan, add in some water to create steam, and gently poach the eggs without all the hullabaloo of creating a vortex of swirling vinegar water. Top your favorite piece of toast with some poached eggs, maybe some asparagus leftover from last night's dinner, and a piece of crispy bacon or pancetta.
Let Them Eat Quiche!: Building on their scrambled eggs and frittata making skills, comes the next challenge, making a quiche. To help make it easier, pick up a frozen deep-dish pie crust at your grocery store. Blind bake it for 10 minutes to help set the crust, then take it back out of the oven, fill it with their favorite toppings, cheese, etc. Pop it back into the oven to bake at 350 degrees until fully cooked and golden brown.
Book a Cooking Class With Our Certified Master Chefs!
If you'd rather sit back and relax and leave the teaching to us, check out our virtual or in-person cooking classes. We're happy to custom tailor any class to the skill level and content you wish your child to learn!
Check out our other delicious recipes, tips, and tricks for Easy, Effortless Entertaining from AWG Private Chefs!
About the Author: Certified Master Chef, Sommelier & Wine Educator, Sean Andrade is the executive chef/owner of AWG Private Chefs, voted best personal chefs and best caterers in San Francisco, and #1 Private Chef company in California. Chef Sean has worked in the restaurant and hospitality industries worldwide for more than 25 years. AWG Private Chefs offers highly custom-tailored, bespoke private chef dining experiences, and private event catering in over 30 countries around the globe.