If you were a child before the mid 1970s, your Mom probably cooked dinner just about every night of the week. In your home, the kitchen was the center of activity. That’s where the ONE telephone was bolted to the wall, tangled chord dangling below the handset. That rotary dial phone was the conduit to the outside world, but not the only type of communication going on in your kitchen.


Your Mother or Grandmother was passing on more knowledge than the phone in that room. And you, as a child, witnessed all that was occurring before you. There was fresh food from the grocery store, meat from the town butcher, and even ingredients from your own backyard garden. You knew what food was because it passed before you every day and every night.

That ONE room in your home generated the excitement of dinner time together, family gatherings, visitors from the neighborhood or across the country, holiday cooking, and smells of food cooking that I’m sure you can remember to this day. You probably did your homework on the kitchen table as Mom prepared the classic “meat and two sides” every night.

cosbyBut, if you were a child growing up after the mid 1970’s, you most probably stayed in the living room watching “the boob tube” as Mom heated the Swanson TV Dinner or mixed some ground beef with Hamburger Helper. If you were a kid in the 1980s or 90s, you probably saw your Mother pick up the phone and call for take out or pizza delivery.

Where has all the love gone? Where has the love of cooking, the enjoyment of talking to the local butcher, the exhilaration of growing your own tomatoes disappeared to? With the decline of the household kitchen as a center of body and soul nutrition in the home, there can be none of that anymore.

I came to this realization when I tried to convince High School students they could use food as fuel and make a healthier Chicken McNugget. With all the passion and culinary knowledge I could muster up, I told them of the benefits of good wholesome foods. I demonstrated without a doubt that my method was better…and they didn’t care because a chicken puck that comes from the drive through IS chicken now. A fresh chicken breast “don’t look right”, as they said to me.

Let’s stop this trend right now! To create healthy adults, we have to be sure kids know what good food is, how to identify it, how to get it, and what to do with it. Based on what I’ve witnessed in food culture over these past decades, I believe there are 5 wonderful things that happen surrounding food and the kitchen that should be MANDATORY for making tomorrow’s adults better people.

5 Child Kitchen Wonders To Grow A Better Adult:

1) Grow Something!

– A child of any age can be shown how seeds turn into plants and it’s thrilling for them to watch something grow, it teaches many lessons. You don’t need a backyard garden like Grandma had. Even if you live in the city, a few flower pots with herbs are exciting when you use them together in a meal.

2) Share The Truth About Where Meat Comes From

– Beef comes from cows. Pork comes from pigs, chicken comes from chickens, it’s just a fact. Our main sources of protein don’t start at the grocery store. The object is not to inflict any political agenda on your young child, but make them aware that food is a natural item and we’re on the top of the food chain.

3) Fast Food Is NOT More Exciting

– Going to McDonalds should NOT be a “special night out”. Don’t make fast food out to be more than it is, cheap and convenient. You can take your child to the drive through but make it apparent that this is not the best way to eat.

4) Mega-mart Grocery Stores Aren’t The Only People That Sell Food

– Take your child or grandchildren to the farmers market, farm or roadside stand. Show them that there are people whose lives are dedicated to providing food to the community beyond the faceless corporation.

5) Bring Them Into The Kitchen At An Early Age

– Don’t tell your kids that cooking is difficult and dangerous. Don’t tell them all the ways they can hurt themselves or ruin dinner. No matter what the age, they can help with cleaning string beans, stirring something, placing cooked items on the plate, or anything that gets them involved in good food and starting to learn to cook.

The pressures are great on kids today. The “exciting” food is cheap, it’s readily available and comes with a LOT of marketing. Home cooked meals are not, unless you make them preferable to lesser foods by including your children in the entire cycle of good food and how it impacts their enjoyment, nutrition, health, and ultimately their entire adulthood.

Create an adult palate early on in life by sharing all the things that should be occurring in, and around, the kitchen. It should be the heart of the home where children become great adults by respecting food and learning basic cooking skills.