Children and Adults Sharing Kitchen Duties

It’s not always possible in our hurried society, but if there is a mother, father or grandparent in the kitchen, children are more apt to learn to cook. As a bonus, they will come to enjoy a variety of foods while learning the art of cooking and eating. The missing elder in the kitchen is one factor that influences different societies’ enjoyment of food, or lack thereof. This segues into a fear of food, leading to a susceptibility to consuming fast food and processed prepared foods. The excuse often boils down to, “There’s just no time.”

My conclusion, after observing working Italian mothers who still prepare daily meals, is that the problem is not a lack of time in our society. It is the historical lack of participation in daily food preparation. The people who do not cook for their families were not exposed to examples of how to prepare quick, nutritious, and economical meals, being that there was nobody in the kitchen to teach them, especially without a recipe. A lack of organizational skills in the kitchen allows other activities to become a priority, and food takes a secondary role. This is particularly true if food preparation is not a family activity that is enjoyed by all.

I was fortunate in my youth to have a grandparent with us. Although my mother worked outside our home, she was able to find time to prepare meals for us from scratch. Because she was a busy woman, my sisters, myself, and other family members were involved in the preparation of genuine foods.  Our children were also blessed to have their grandparents with them in their developmental years. Here Mama is making pasta, a daily chore we all experienced.

Here we have my husband making Argentinian empanadas in the 1970s, then son Jason making empanadas with his paternal grandmother and her two sisters, his great aunts, some 20 years later. He is followed 10 years later with our oldest granddaughter, Laila, learning how to make empanadas with her maternal grandmother, me. Also present are her maternal and paternal great grandmothers. Getting children involved in the kitchen leads to a demand for quality foods. The children, as they grow into adulthood, also have a better understanding of foods and their history, which is important to know before consuming anything.


Kitchen chores are less work and more fun when they involve family members. Here you see cousins in the kitchen together with grandma.

With grandma on Jason’s birthday 1975, then again in 1990


Kids cleaning shrimp, different generations

1978 our children cleaning fish with their dad on a Sunday afternoon

Thirty years later, their children cleaning fish with their dad and the children’s grandpa on a Sunday afternoon

Leave a Comment