Cooking Up Special Memories

Posted by on February 12, 2009

When I was growing up, the first thing I really learned to cook that didn’t involve an aluminum tray was pancakes. I was thrilled to be able to make something I really liked and from that day forward, pancakes were my “specialty”. Mother’s Day? Why she’s getting pancakes, of course. Father’s Day? He’s getting pancakes, too!

With my mother’s assistance, I eventually graduated to french toast, scrambled eggs, bacon on the extra-crispy side (I still haven’t quite mastered the art of bacon!) and for special occasions, chocolate chip cookies.

Learning to cook with my mom is a special memory for me and with my own children, we’ve begun to forge some special traditions that I hope they will remember when they grow up.

The one really special thing we do is bake birthday cakes for everyone’s birthdays. In fact, nobody in our family has ever had a bakery or store-bought cake. Hopefully, never having had a Barbie or Spongebob cake isn’t scarring my kids too badly!

To make it extra fun, I let my kids decide what kind of cake we’re going to make (keeping in mind, of course, the birthday person’s preferences). This means, for example, that my husband gets a chocolate cake with some kind of special addition like chocolate or butterscotch chips and most likely a homemade fudgy frosting.

I also let them add the ingredients I’ve measured and use the hand blender to mix it, though occasionally one of them will lift it too far out of the batter or frosting and spatter all of us with it (we’re still working on the part!) When the cakes are done and cooled, I give each of them a rubber spatula and let them frost away and then cover their cake with sprinkles, colored sugar or colored confetti candy.

This tradition has become so popular that when someone’s birthday is coming up, they remind me days in advance to make sure I have all the ingredients needed!

What’s with all the cooking talk, you ask? Well, The Motherhood, Rice Krispies® and yours truly are asking moms to share some of their special kitchen and meal time moments. Your idea could be selected to be a part of the new campaign and at least two readers will win a fun prize from Rice Krispies.

So tell me, dear readers, what special things do you do in the kitchen or around meals with your kids that you’d like to share? You can answer the above question OR the following “fast five” in the comments to be one of two randomly selected prize winners and remember, your idea could become part of a new Rice Krispies campaign!

  1. What is the wackiest creation to come out of your kitchen when you and/or the kids were trying something new?
  2. Do you have any special traditions that the kids look forward to doing in the kitchen with you?
  3. What was the first meal you taught your kids to cook?
  4. Have you experienced any kitchen disasters with your kids?
  5. Do you have a nightly ritual with your family when it comes to meal time? If so, please share it!

If you have photos or video of you and your kids in the kitchen, feel free to share a link!


  • anant verma says:

    you write really well.

  • cIII says:

    1. It was The Great Smoothie debocal of ’08. Apparently, when you add a handful of frozen blueberries to a Banana/Pineapple smoothie, it will smell and taste like Play-Doh.

    More refreshing than you might think.

    2. The Big One (7 yr.) cracks eggs whenever eggs need crackin’. That’s her job. Have an egg that needs cracking? Call 1-800-the goat. She also breads a mean Chicken Cutlet.

    3. Pasta Carbonara……aka: Snail Pasta.

    4. It was The Great Pizza Dough Mishap of ’07. Let’s just say that if you let your 6 year old try and mix the water/yeast with the “dry” ingredients when utilizing the old fashioned “well method”, well, you had better have a Mop on standby.

    5.Stories. We tell stories. The more outlandish and ridiculous the better. Sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes, stuff comes out my nose.

  • diana says:

    Sorry – I don’t have kids and therefore no kid related food stories. I do, however, have the best way to make crispy bacon. Place bacon on a cookie sheet or sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake at 350 for about 7 to 10 minutes (I gauge by smell). Easy clean up and perfect bacon – the perfect food.

  • home made Pizza on Thursday nights — is my answer to all of the questions.

    And now you’ve got me thinking about bacon!

  • Mary-LUE says:

    Banana Bread… in the Crock Pot. For some reason, the fact that we make it in the slow cooker makes this some sort of life altering experience for my daughter. It is very yummy. No nuts though. My daughter does not do nuts in her banana bread.

    I am sure that part of the joy she gets from it is that we are doing it together. I’m not much of a kitchen person usually.

  • jen says:

    Our daughter is still young, just turned two, but I was burning more dinners by not getting her involved. I would have to try to cook and bake while she was crying at my feet. So now she sits with a bowl of frozen peas which she eats like popcorn, and a small bowl for her with a mini wisk and she will cook dinner along side of me. She’s also a really good taste tester. :)

  • Jen says:

    Since I am currently baking my kid (not really…dude I’m just pregnant) I’ll tell you my favorite memory as a kid in the kitchen.

    When I was younger my cousins and I got off the bus every day at my grandma’s house. Once or twice a week we would make a huge batch of choc. chip cookies from scratch. As the oldest grandkid I got to do more and help direct the traffic of the younger kids. It made me feel like such a grown-up. We all had a three cookie allotment for after-school and on the baking days I always took my cookies from the batter dish, before the choc chips were added. To this day there is nothing I love more than choc. chip cookie batter without the choc. chips.

  • Christina says:

    We’ve recently discovered that Cordy loves to cook and bake – making me wonder what throwback recessive gene muscled out my undomestic genes. So now we use baking as a reward – if she does something good, we celebrate by baking.

    Right now we’re using this idea for potty training. If she stays dry all day, she gets to bake a treat. She adds some of the ingredients, stirs, and sets the timer on the oven. Who knew that making food could be used as a reward?

    (And it’s mostly my husband who helps with the baking. I oversee and offer support – you really don’t want me near an oven.)

  • magpie says:

    We try to involve our five year old in cooking as much as possible. Sometimes it’s helping to make a batch of cookies, sometimes it’s stirring the pancake batter, sometimes it’s shaking the omelet pan. Check the video in this post – she was about 4 1/2 at the time:

    I also signed her up for an afterschool cooking class – so far they’ve made monkey bread, french toast cheese sandwiches, lasagne and brownies. Everything comes home ready to be cooked. It’s kind of dumb cooking, but she’s participating.

  • recipes says:

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