Training Future Homemakers: Transferring the Culinary Art Skills to the Next Generation

Meal planning and preparation is certainly an art as well as a science. I have been reading about sourdough bread and the science of the process was quite interesting. I have trying to make my own breads and with that in mind, I started with making homemade tortillas, now I am ready to move on to other rolls and breads full time. We always make from scratch pancakes and waffles but just recently have I been researching how to make my own sourdough breads and am ready to take the plunge into that. Little by little. Over the years it has been a step by step process. Now being that we are a large family, it is possible at times for me to get overwhelmed with all the “things” that need to be done or the things that I want to do and it is important for me to manage these things in order of importance. It is my job to prioritize and delegate. It is not me personally that makes all the pancakes, tortillas and bread, in addition to all my other duties; this would be impossible. I have help. I have been training my 7 1/2 year old in these arts as well and she is very capable of cranking out 3 batches of tortillas without me lifting a finger. Yesterday, she brought me a hot fresh tortilla while I was giving a spelling test to one of my children. My older ones love to mix up pancakes and make them by themselves. This is a huge blessing to me!
This week we have been learning about the fermentation process, commercial yeast vs.. home grown wild yeast, good bacteria, rising and more bread making terms. I fully expect that she will be well versed in sourdough bread making within the next couple of months as we work on this together.

(Making her sourdough starter)
The important aspect is that she is learning at a young age one primary requisite for homemaking. The meals and meal time are so very important. Not in what you make, but in the overall atmosphere of what meal time denotes. It is the heart of the home. The kitchen, the meals, the preparation, the cooking, the meal times. The spiritual and physical impact that these things have on each individual in our family is a powerful influence and life-long message.
My hope is that I am able to prepare my daughters for these duties by allowing them to learn by serving their family now. Too many times, we do not allow our girls to learn the arts of homemaking when they are young because we get caught up in “trying to get it done” or we do not see the importance in that training. I have caught myself many times getting to hurried, instead of focusing on the real need of the hour, which many times is the training of my daughters. As girls grow into their little girl years, 5 to 8 years old, they need to be spending a lot of time learning the things that mom does. In their toddler years, you may have them experiment by playing with dough or helping you stir, or just playing with pots and pans on the floor, but it is in these little girl years that their interest in the feminine homemaking jobs is high. They love to make cookies. They love to crack eggs or pop popcorn. They love to dish out the ice cream and top it with whip cream and a cherry. They love to make their siblings snacks and play tea party. They love pretty aprons and putting a pretty table cloth on the table.
Some tips for instilling homemaking meal skills in little girls:
1.) It is not unreasonable to teach them to set the table for meal times. Little girls always like the special touches of a vase of flowers or a candle or a folded napkin for a supper meal. Encourage these things and do not see them as a unnecessary waste of time.
2.) Cooking a baking simple things is taught starting young! At 7 years old she may be able to make a complete salad, make homemade dressing, make simple breads, decorate a veggie or fruit tray, make simple desserts, make tea, make tunafish sandwiches but the training started at 5! These are some examples, however she will need you to train her in the younger years. You may deem appropriate activities according to her abilities and age. At 5 or 6 years old she can make peanut butter cracker snacks, cream cheese and celery, pour drinks, set the table, help with dishes, peel an egg, crack an egg, beat an egg. At 7 and 8, they are really starting to pick up on their skills and able to do a considerable amount of kitchen related things. I have seen 12 year olds complete a meal and bake incredible things by themselves and know how to clean a kitchen when they are finished.
3.) If you are training a 5 year old, you may have her stand in a chair beside you while you are baking something. Tell her exactly what you are doing and why. Have her pour, dump and mix. Do not be concerned if a puff of flour is spilt on the counter or water is splashed on the floor or egg is smeared on the counter. These are opportunities for you to point out to her things to watch for. As they develop, they will regain better coordination and abilities to for see situations. For example, she may not realize that if you pour 3 cups of flour into a beating mixer all at one time that most of it might end up right back in your face and all over the kitchen. Your gentle guidance will assume that she does not know these things and you can teach by example.
4.) Expect a mess but don’t train a mess. Training is dirty work. I do not expect a completely trashed kitchen, but I do expect a mess and I do expect extra time. However, the time will be well spent because as the years go by, one day the kitchen will be filled with the aroma of home baked cookies or Sunday roast that you played no part in except the years of training when she was little.
It is truly exciting to see these womanly skills and arts take off in our young children


  • Amy Howard says:

    Hi Bethany!
    I know it’s been a while, but I loved this post and just had to comment!
    I can’t imagine any other way of being a mommy to my little girls. I feel sorry for the ladies out there that don’t train their daughters this way… It is one of the greatest joys of my life to train my daughters, and mine are much younger than your oldest ones. We love to be in the kitchen together mixing things and sometimes making a mess. Later on it’s fun for my oldest (3 years old) to tell Daddy that she helped make the pizza, or mix the cake batter, or knead the bread dough.
    Yes, this is something for which I definitely have a passion! I encourage any of your readers out there to follow your great example if they don’t already… and just watch the joy and the relationship between mother and daughter blossom to the glory of God!
    Take care & Keep on blogging!
    Amy Howard

  • Candace Sabo says:

    Hello Bethany,
    My name is Candace and I have been reading your blog for about a month now. I always enjoy reading your stories, thoughts and encouragements. I especially love this post and fully agree with all you have written. I have six children and I am at the point where I’m fully enjoying the fruits of my early “investments” of training. My two older girls (14 today, and 11) are very skilled in the art of homemaking. I’ve been enjoying the wonderful aromas of homemade chili and cornbread, egg and cheese souffles, hearty casseroles, fresh baked breads and much more, that were lovingly prepared by my sweet girls. It brings joy to my heart as I watch the little ones gather around the kitchen island (on chairs) to help me or the older girls prepare a meal or bake something yummy.
    Our precious girls are such a blessing to our family! Thank you for your wonderful daily words of encouragement and have fun with your sourdough making journey. It will be well worth it!
    Solus Christus,
    Candace S.

  • Sally says:

    Very cool. 🙂 If I had a little girl, I’d be right there with you!
    However, as it is, my little guy does enjoy standing on the stool next to me as I chop up veggies (he LOVES throwing the onion peels and such into the sink 🙂 ) and the best part? I can cook without him whining at my knees…ok, it at least makes the whining minimal 😉
    I’ve discovered most of the time, he’s just curious at what I’m doing. He “ooooohhhhs” each time he sees the steam rising from a pot or something dissolving into water or as something disappears as I stir…he’s one curious, mischevious lil’ monkey! 🙂

  • What an inspiration you are! Wow your 7 1/2 year old doing so well! I’m just now really working on this with mine, but I am running a bit behind. We just started homeschool this year. I hope we can catch up fairly quickly! Hugs,