Tanara McCauley

Culturally Imagined Stories

Kids Cook Fridays

Fridays have always been a population favorite. They end the work and school week, usher in vacations (or holidays, for my European friends), and offer much-needed breaks. Even the most disagreeable chime in on the popular consensus of Friday’s arrival…ahh.

In my home, we issue up a hearty “Mmmm” as well. Because that’s when the kids get to cook.


And I’m not talking peanut butter sandwiches or ramen noodles either. During the week, they pick a recipe based on what we have on hand, get a $20 budget for any missing ingredients, and take over the kitchen stove, kitchen counters, and the kitchen sink. (I clean up after myself when I cook, so can they :-).)

My son, who’s not as fond of this routine as his sister… 008
…tends to go for the more practical selections. Whatever can be thrown in one dish and cooked together is a first choice for him.

My daughter, on the other hand, has to be scaled back now and then. Otherwise it’d be ten-course meals with drink pairings and a selection of desserts. This is what her table looks like on her nights:

And if we have guests, she completes the scene with a towel draped elegantly over her arm, serves and refills drinks individually, and personally makes rounds about the table to dish out seconds. Top Chef, thank you.


Though cookbooks for kids have easy to make dishes, many of them include ingredients that aren’t always the healthiest. So I prefer recipes from sites such as allrecipes.com, or cookbooks such as Ree Drummond’s The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes From an Accidental Country Girl. Here comes Mathias’ version of Ree’s braised beef brisket:


These nights are fun, but they’re not always easy. It takes longer for the twins to follow a recipe than it would if I were to cook. And the cleanup can sometimes take a military turn. But in the end, they’re learning to accept more responsibility as they get older, and I see them glow when they receive praise for a well-cooked meal.

And should we eat out on a Friday, the chef of the evening gets to choose the restaurant.

All-in-all, we enjoy this family tradition, as it gives additional meaning to the phrase, “Thank God it’s Friday!”

Your turn: What are some family activities or traditions you keep in your household?

9 responses to “Kids Cook Fridays”

  1. My kids learned to cook at an early age. And I have many fond memories of meals served to Tim and me. Now that they’re married, and in their 40’s, it’s been a real asset to their spouses. Great job Tanara.

    Liked by 2 people

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