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Host a Family Cook-Off

It’s the age-old question – “what are we having for dinner tonight?” But who says you can’t mix it up every once in a while, and let it be fun! A great way to get your family laughing in fun competition is to host a cook off – here are my tips for getting the whole family involved, no matter their age or level of cooking ability

  • Level the playing field. Obviously, a parent who cooks dinner every night versus a 5-year-old doesn’t seem very fair, but it’s all in the setup. Choose something that’s basic but can be vastly different based on the ingredients. My favorite example is guacamole! It’s essentially just mushed up avocado, but some people add jalapenos, lime juice, onions, and even salsa. Choose something that gives everyone the chance to shine.

  • Prep like a chef. Gather all the ingredients that anyone might want to use. You can take a poll before grocery shopping so everyone has what they want. Then, adults and children old enough to help can get to prepping. Going with my guac example, you can dice onions, tomatoes, jalapenos, garlic, etc. and put it in separate bowls for everyone to take what they want. Cut limes and avocados in half, set out small dishes of salt, make it all accessible so everyone can reach. 

  • Get cooking! Give everyone a bowl and utensils to mush or stir. Let them know that they can do whatever they want – this is their recipe! Choose one trusted person to be the “keeper of the secrets” and assist for very young ones. Then that person will secretly set out everyone’s dishes for a surprise tasting!

  • Choose the winner! The great thing about this is that even if everyone uses the same ingredients, the amounts will affect the flavor. So, have the whole family do a taste test without knowing who made which dish and let the family decide which was the best. If you’re a competitive family, maybe make secret ballots! Give everyone a chance to talk about what they liked about each dish, so each chef will get props for their work even if they’re not the winner.Give the prize. And that prize is bragging rights! Or maybe they don’t have to do the dishes for a week? It could be anything!

What dish would you like to make with your family? What other tips do you have to get kids involved in the kitchen? Share your ideas with us!

Originally post on on May 2, 2022

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