Our daughter and I were out recently and stopped to get gas. As I was pumping the gas, she stuck her head out the window and said, “I smell French fries and they smell good!” This girl loves potatoes in practically any form she can get them in, but especially fried. Once I got back in the car, she immediately asked if we could get some. Although I was tempted myself, I said no. Convenience store food almost ALWAYS smells better than it actually is unless you are on a small, country road miles from nowhere, then they seem to know their way around a skillet. But we were in the city and I had my doubts that they would be worth the few bucks that I had left in my wallet. I told her we had some potatoes at home and if she wanted some fried potatoes, she could make them when we got home. So, that’s what she did. Have you seen that meme that seems to be everywhere right now? “She thought she could so she did.” That is our daughter – especially when it comes to food. Cooking is my hobby, so I encourage her enthusiasm. Here is what we did:
- Wash, dry and quarter small potatoes
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium low heat (higher heat will cause the potatoes to cook quickly on the outside, but not the inside)
- Put potatoes in pan and sprinkle with salt
- Toss periodically, but let potatoes sit on each side long enough to brown lightly
- Sprinkle with salt and serve
With my oversight, she could do most of these steps. The most important thing to remember when cooking with a child is safety. I had to get a plastic spatula so if she left it in the pan it wouldn’t burn her hand. I got the pan warmed for her and then kept a close eye as she was stirring occasionally, but I let her do it. I did take the potatoes out of the pan and put them on the plate for her because that involved taking the skillet off the heat and the hot oil moving around in the process. But she did everything else and was she proud! The other message this sends to kids is, you don’t have to buy fast food just because it is there. You can create pretty much what you want at home and it is so much better for you! You control the fat, salt and other ingredients added. Most of all, when a child either sees you cooking or does it themselves, they learn the satisfaction of making something good for yourself by yourself.