Guide and share your culture with your grandchildren from your kitchen!

I was at a tea shop talking with the manager about various teas…  and somehow our topic of conversation switched to how to guide and support her grandchild to learn more than that what they are teaching her at home.

I am very passionate about children’s learning as you may know. So the answer I gave her without any hesitation is: to involve them in the kitchen!

And not just having fun connecting with them in the kitchen (yes, that is important), but using this opportunity to connect with them on a deeper level by sharing your culture with them.

Shopping for the ingredients

When I say kitchen, it is also about involving them in the process of shopping for the ingredients. Get them involved: what to look for, where to buy, encourage them to browse through the shelves, feel and touch (gently) the raw ingredients (where possible), learn about the texture, the smell, the colours, the shapes, where those ingredients come from …

Preparing the ingredients and cooking

On top of that, involving them in the cooking process, i.e. the way to cut the meat or vegetables, the way to cook, to mix, chop, stir, mix, control the temperature, distinguish the aroma, how to know when the dish is cooked from sight and smell etc.

Impart your culture

However, we are going a level deeper. Yes, it is important to make quality time to connect with your grandchildren; however, it is also a great opportunity to share your culture with them as well, right?

I still remember my grandmother’s kaya (coconut jam). Even though it was almost 40 years ago, I can still remember her gentle hand motion stirring the custard, how she beat the eggs and mixed the coconut milk together. I was her ‘second in charge’, helping her with the fanning of the charcoal fire.

Here are few tips that you can can still guide your grandchildren about your cultural dishes with limited time on hand:

  • Involving them in the garden – get them involved with planting herbs that you use in your dishes and show them the herbs each time they visit you.
  • Take them out shopping with you – where possible, teach them about the herbs and spices you use in your dishes.
  • Use solid and child safe chairs and stools to enable the younger grandchild to be at an appropriate height, so that they can help you with the washing of the vegetables or chopping (child proof safe knife).
  • Get them to smell the dishes and tell you what are the ingredients in that particular dish.
  • Show them the traditional gadgets that you used (whether physically or through pictures) when preparing that particular dish.

I can’t emphasise enough how much your grandchildren would benefit from these interactions!

So you see, you don’t need any special structural environment to “teach” or guide your grandchildren, just involve them in your kitchen, which includes your garden and shopping. They can learn so much from those experiences, not only about food, counting, etc but about your culture – their roots.

What do you do when guiding your grandchildren in this fast-moving world? Share some great ideas with us!

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