To Learn To Cook – Or – To Cook To Learn?

(Note to my mother: this post is not for you. We all know you don’t like to cook; I will gladly do it for you. )

Culinate (one of the food sites / blogs that I follow) posted this article: A child’s place is in the kitchen – how cooking advances learning

Mac and I are making "mush" after a bike ride together: oatmeal with cranberries, almonds, and some cinnamon.

I contend that the learning benefits of cooking apply to adults as well.  In the same way that children learn from cooking with us, we keep learning when we cook too (or at least this adult does, which is perhaps why I like to cook). Our brains engage, we make meaning of what we’re doing, we take responsibility (ooops! I added too much salt that time), we see amazing scientific principles at work, we can employ our creativity, our senses engage, we’re actively learning, building skill, and (hopefully) enjoying the outcomes of our work. And often, we get feedback from others, which, if we’re open to it, can help us improve.

Mac performing quality-control on a batch of hummus.

Each time I cook — and every time I cook with Mac, which I try to do as often as possible — I think about the process, the end product, what we are doing and what the result is, and what we might do differently next time. And I think about our work together, as a cooking team. And when I cook with Mac, I take the time to let him be helpful (in opposition to his grandma’s adage that “watching is helping”).  He’s now quite adept at peeling (garlic, potatoes, cucumbers — you name it, he’ll peel it), he is really good at stirring, and he likes to taste along the way and let me know if something needs more lemon, more cumin, less paprika.

As he pointed out to me just two nights ago, our Asian stir fry would be a lot better with some ice cream in it. Now *that’s* what I mean by feedback!


I am cooking to learn.


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