It feels in true Fancy Peasant Spirit, that my first FP letter, should be about the one question I am asked most frequently: How do you find the time, patience, and joy to cook with your kids?

To be fair and honest, a recipe that would normally take me under 15 minutes to make alone can turn into a monumental and messy task when Greyson and Roman join me. However, that’s usually not the case and the experience ends up being really fun...and funny.

Cooking and eating have been my passion for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest childhood memories is watching my Yiayia Magdalini tend to her gorgeous garden filled with dozens of vibrant varieties of fruit and veg. She would cook the most gorgeous Greek delicacies and everyone who visited her would go home with loads of vegetables in tow. Well cut to 30 years later and I am doing just the same.

I guess quite literally the seed was planted then and to this day gardening with the boys in our backyard is still one of my favorite things to do and some of my most cherished memories . They have both been gardening since in utero and feel most comfortable in our garden. But gardening with the boys is a topic for another FP letter altogether. I digress.

Cooking with the boys happened quite naturally. At this point in their lives I am obviously fully in control and responsible for how they nourish and fuel their tiny little bodies.

Kids equate everything with fun, and to my boys there is nothing more fun than getting their hands dirty. If you’re like me, the hours between 5 and 7 are crazy town in our house between bath, dinner and “cool down” mode as I call it. I am lucky enough to have a wonderful nanny until 5 pm and my husband doesn’t get home until about 7 so that leaves me a few hours to get supper going and survive…the boys are tired but filled with an insane amount of “evening energy” (how? I do NOT know for the love of God)!

“Kids equate everything with fun, and to my boys there is nothing more fun than getting their hands dirty.”

What I usually do is let the little fellas play with puzzles, legos and Pop-A-Shot as I prepare the ingredients for whatever dish we are making. Sometimes they will watch the tube and I have spent useless hours judging myself for letting them do so. I keep telling myself I’m over doing that, but it’s a lie. Anyhow, when I tell them it’s time to make dinner they both rush me like savages before they hop on the counter or kitchen ladder ready to tackle the evening meal (creating a safe cooking zone is of greatest importance of course).

Get them excited. I pop on some great music and start dancing as we begin our journey. Start small. Have them crack a few eggs and get used to the feeling, the texture and all the ingredients and the sounds of your kitchen. Have them add the flour, tear apart your green salad leaves, knead the dough and peel the bananas. Roman loves to taste test while Greyson enjoys waiting to see the fruits of his labor come together as he takes his first bite and then brags to his father about how HE cooked it all himself. Cooking gives you confidence and I love that.

Yes your kids will spill the oil, crack dozens of eggs and then cry about how gross they are, spill the three dozen tomatoes on the kitchen floor that you chopped earlier on in the day to have prepped for your sauce BUT this is one of those early investments that pays off — eventually. It doesn’t happen every night and like you, I’m tired AF all the time so I find that setting a goal helps - like committing to cooking with your littles 1 night a week to start.

Not for nothing. I want to send these men into the world equipped. Cooking is a basic life skill and its healthy for everyone to know what they are putting into their bodies, not just children. Sometimes when I find myself losing patience, I can hear my father’s voice as clear as day saying, Anastasia you cannot rush good things. Putting hard work and love into teaching your baby and toddlers how to cook will make you so happy…eventually. So to all the mothers teaching their babies how to do anything well, I salute you and wish you grace, Gods speed and a whole lot of patience.


This Fancy Peasant


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