My children loved to help in the kitchen when they were young. They had special aprons (possibly even a chefs hat!), brightly coloured bowls, spoon and spatulas and even a special stool to stand on so they were just the right height for the table or work surface.
Making biscuits and fairy cakes were always popular and ‘safety’ here was more about keeping the kitchen safe from liberally scattered ‘sprinkles’, splodges of icing, those tiny silver balls that seem to get everywhere and endless sticky fingers. Post adornment I always found that a full child clean down at the table before descent to the floor worked best – thank goodness for wet wipes – and then a huge sweeping cuddle to fly them over the war zone that was the kitchen floor before lying them on the sofa to sleep off the sugar-induced coma that inevitably accompanied a well-spent afternoon of baking.
As they got older then wanting to help at the hob or get involved in cutting up veg always induced fear in me. How to keep them safe whilst building on their enthusiasm and interest without causing grievous bodily harm through burns or lacerations. A small, rather less than razor sharp knife and responsibility for the softish veg (so not carrots or potatoes) was, I found, a good place to start. Safe technique; hand arched over the veg, knife in between; seemed to work and where possible scissors rather than a knife – so scissors to cut chicken and bacon, herbs, snipping slices of onion into little bits etc.…
When it came to wanting to stir hot stuff then a long-handled spoon and a heavy based pan were always employed. I went through a phase of insisting they wore protective gloves too but one has to question the possibility that the gloves aren’t as clean as they might be for food prep and so that soon got forgotten. Don’t forget also the very beady eye, a large amount of hovering, the ‘helpful’ holding of the panhandle and the acceptance of rather oversized lumps in the dinner and I’m sure you are getting the picture.
Those were happy days indeed and now the majority of my brood are teenagers it seems to be more about them pouring boiling water onto a Pot Noodle than popping a mini egg on a chocolate krispy cake – those I have to do by myself!