Teach Your Children Well + a Vintage French Cookbook

• 16 September 2012

Perhaps all of the hours I've recently clocked on the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Pandora station (best.station.ever.) have resonated.  Or perhaps I am finally tired of thinking about doing something for so long that I can I must talk about it openly here--for accountability purposes :)  Let me explain...

So you see, one of the boxes I'd like to check on my ever-lengthening-parenting to-do list is to teach my children the skills I have.  Nothing fancy, really...just things like "make pancakes", "how to run a load of laundry" and "how to play Ticket to Ride".  I feel so strongly that not sharing my knowledge with my children is such a disservice to them.  Yet, I struggle so much with implementation; despite the fact that my inner voice has been telling me this for a couple of years now.

Strangely enough, this classic, vintage, French book--a gift from my mother-in-law who picked it up for me at a Paris flea market--is going to be the motivating factor for finally tackling this weighty issue.  I refuse to be the mother who sends her kids off to college without knowing how to cook a proper meal (thankfully I have almost 10 years to teach 'em!).   This darling children's cookbook, complete with a forward by Jean Cocteau, is titled, "La Cuisine est un Jeu D'enfants"; which basically means that `cooking is child's play'.  This is according to the French, bien sur!

Between the charming illustrations, simply stated directions and cooking tips (like "don't flip over the crepe" and "don't put the mayonnaise in the fridge...ever!), I know my 2 oldest will be tickled when I initiate a little kitchen date for the 3 of us.  The deal will be this: I will teach them how to make a simple meal (and clean it up); in return, they can use the opportunity to teach me a few more French words and phrases.

I am hoping that as I seek to create these opportunities more often, and subsequently deal with the potential chaos of teaching a child a new skill, that I will actually grow more fond of the process.   And then perhaps it will feed on itself and become a more natural part of my parenting style.  A mother can always hope...

If you have any thoughts or advice on the subject, I would love to hear them!

note: vintage copies from 1963 can be found here and a new hardback copy can be picked up here. 

images by me


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