I wasn't taught to cook by my mum, I don't think she liked people in her kitchen any more than I do. She did let me make cakes and biscuits but I taught myself to cook proper meals. Thing was, I wanted to cook, I have always loved poring over cookbooks and discovering how things were made. Neither George nor Tom have any interest in food beyond enthusiastically eating it. When they go to university they are going to live on pasties and sandwiches respectively.
George who is 18 starts university in October. He can scramble eggs, cook bacon, bake potatoes, make toasties and knock up campfire chilli over a campfire. I am trying to add to his repertoire but it's an uphill struggle.
I say 'George you're cooking tea on Monday. We're having macaroni cheese, it's easy'.
He sighs and says 'ok'.
5.30 on Monday I say 'you'll have to start tea soon',
He sighs and says 'right, just let me finish watching Game of Thrones'.
I sigh and think 'I wish I was doing it'.
Once in the kitchen he stands there waiting for me to tell him what to do. Surely he knows by now to get a pan of water on the boil for the pasta?
'George you do know that macaroni cheese has pasta in it don't you?', 'Yes' he replies rolling his eyes.
And so it goes, me telling, suggesting and he resignedly doing. By the end we have an edible meal and he can't remember how he produced it and I am left wondering why I bother.
Last night, under duress, George cooked a very tasty version of this meal which we have now decided to call 'red stuff'. It's an excellent student meal. A half quantity will serve one hungry student for two nights running. It has a good amount of veg in the form of tinned tomatoes and onions, can be customised ad infinitum, is easy peasy, requires little in the way of equipment, is made from storecupboard ingredients and is cheap. George's version has kidney beans. black beans, sweetcorn and barbecue sauce in it. These were all my suggestions as he failed to work up enough enthusiasm to think of any himself. Sigh.
But let's not forget my other teenager. Katie adores cooking and will drop everything if I suggest she comes and helps in the kitchen. She has just finished a surprisingly comprehensive food tech unit at school which included; toad-in-the-hole, bolognese, pasta with ham and cheese sauce, jam sponge, pineapple upside down cake, pasties and egg and bacon tart. The boys did not do this when they were at school. The curriculum must have changed in the last couple of years. When we studied the ingredients lists for the recipes she made at school Katie really impressed me by being able to suggest substitutions for things we didn't have or were never going to have (margarine). After she had made the bolognese sauce she told me she really enjoyed cooking the meat and seeing it change colour, that made me happy because it's exactly what I like about cooking, watching ingredients change and become delicious. Clearly Katie is going to leave home able to cook without much effort from me.
How do you do teach teenagers to cook?
How did you do teach teenagers to cook?
Specifically how do you teach a teenager to cook who doesn't think he needs to learn (because he already knows everything).
Should I even bother if the teenager in question doesn't want to learn?