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The title says it all.

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Make sure you properly season them first.... ;) –  Dave DeLong Jul 9 '10 at 19:43
    
The ones doing athletics and sports are the toughest. @dav –  Eight Days of Malaise Jul 9 '10 at 19:46
3  
@Dave DeLong: being the parent of a child missing limbs, I probably shouldn't find that funny. I shouldn't, but I do :) –  Dinah Jul 9 '10 at 20:00
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closed as not constructive by Aaronut Feb 29 '12 at 23:42

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4 Answers

up vote 15 down vote accepted

Edit: the original title was "What are some tips on cooking with children?" but it was edited so my 1st part is no longer relevant.

If you mean cooking and children happen to be near:

  • Keep them away from anything sharp or hot
  • Don't let handles of pans or utensils hang over the edge of the counter
  • Make sure they aren't in your path when you are doing things quickly. You don't want to trip over them and hurt them or yourself. I'm especially thinking about taking a put of boiling pasta water over to the sink for draining

If you mean cooking and children are helping:

  • Supervise when they are doing a lot at once. They can get distracted or forget to pay attention to one thing or another
  • Supervise heavily when they are doing something new and potentially dangerous
  • Teach proper hygiene especially when handling raw meats
  • Teach them how to properly clean dishes. They need to learn this anyway and once they do: free labor

(If you mean cooking with children as ingredients, despite my morbid inclinations, I'm not going down that path...)

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  • Ensure that children are careful near boiling water
  • Put up cooking items up when done with them
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The best advice I ever got was something surprisingly unintuitive (for me at least) but very helpful: treat them like adults. Don't assume in advance that they won't like the way something tastes, but respect that preference when they don't.

The number of seemingly-challenging foods my daughter has turned out to love is amazing; likewise, once I stopped trying to mentally will her to like things she "should", our mealtime relationship improved enormously.

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Just make sure, for safety or other reasons, that they are always being watched, or they can't reach anything alone. I once had simple side of cooked spinach ruined with a lethal dose of salt, because (we suspect) the 5 year old wanted to "help."

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