Jan 162013

Beef Fajitas Elliot

Beef fajitas by my son

A homeschool mom extraordinaire introduced me to the idea of assigning teens regular responsibilities in the kitchen. My teens are loving this creative, fun life skill – and I appreciate the break! On Sunday evenings, they scour recipe books for the yummiest dinners they can find. They list the ingredients, and take turns shopping. Yes – I turn them loose in the grocery store. With my debit card. So far, so good! It’s actually saving us money, because they buy only what’s on the list.

Three nights of the week, they become chef, chef’s assistant, or waiter. On their “chef” night, they cook the meal they planned. The chef’s assistant cleans the kitchen before dinner, including throwing away food scraps, wiping counters, and washing knives and pans. The waiter sets the table and cleans the kitchen after dinner. (And don’t forget the supplements!)

Kebabs by Caleb

Kebabs by Caleb

I’ve been amazed at the quality of their efforts. My two boys, as always, turned it into a competition. They compete to create the best meal, and I have to give my studied opinion. They lose points for burned food, not enough to go around, or absent veggies, etc. My daughter couldn’t care less about winning, but she does enjoy presiding as co-judge, and presenting her own lovely dinners. So far, they’ve made curried chicken, flank steak spinach pinwheels, teriyaki kabobs, and more. It’s fun to watch their confidence grow, and wonderful to know they’ll be able to cook when they leave home.

Do you have a trick for teaching life skills to teens? Leave a comment!

By Columba Lisa Smith

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