Growing up in a large family, we always enjoyed the holidays. My Mom would spend hours and hours preparing Thanksgiving or Christmas Dinners. We were all expected to help, and even though I didn’t know it at the time, she was building memories that we all hang on to.
In my own family, I have carried on those traditions to build memories. Whether it was helping with a large holiday dinner, or simple tasks like preparing the zucchini for Zucchini Bread, or cutting vegetables for the trays, I love having my boys in the kitchen with me.
Several years back we started a new tradition for Thanksgiving. Each of the boys choose their favorite dish to add to the dinner, I grab the ingredients at the store, then on Thanksgiving morning, everyone gathers in the kitchen and they prepare their dish. It’s been great on many levels – 1) it’s teaching them to cook, 2) it’s building memories and most important 3) we are creating face time with each other, a time we all laugh, have fun and communicate.
Last year I gave my oldest two boys the job of peeling potatoes, even though it wasn’t their favorite dish, they still helped. They stood at the kitchen sink together, chatted and had fun peeling potatoes. Coming together as a family in the kitchen is so important. When our middle son was younger he would love to stand on a chair next to me and help bake. Of course, most of the time it was to lick the beaters, but he also enjoyed cooking and baking. Now as a young man in his early 20’s, he can fix just about anything he wants, which has paid off well since he is away at college.
For us, the kitchen is absolutely the heart of the home. I often wish the kitchen was larger so we could have a big island with chairs around it to just sit and chat. For now, until I can have my dream kitchen, I am more than happy with the boys all being in the kitchen together.
No matter if your family is small or large, if the children are young or older, it’s always important to have face-to-face time, and what better place than in the kitchen?
Also, check out BonAppetit.com‘s “OUT OF THE KITCHEN,” an exploration of the coolest food artisans in America, from spice blenders to knife makers to cider brewers. See how they mastered their crafts—and learn how to apply their knowledge at home.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Bon Appetit. The opinions and text are all mine.