What you need to know first. You will make mistakes when learning to cook or bake and you might continue making mistakes along the way. This does not mean you are a failure and that you will never learn how to do things in the kitchen. Cooking and baking is trial and error. Yes things may burn, spill over and might not taste good, this is all a learning process. You have to be patient, those in your life may not be so patient, that does not mean to give up. You are trying. You can be the next Julia Child or Jack Pepin, you can open up your own restaurant or operate a cooking website or cooking school, you could also be a cook book author or a food critic. Or, you could learn just to be a good cook and prepare meals that will be more healthy and nutritious then anything you can get at a fast food place or in a box with all those preservatives and things that can be unhealthy.
When you cook, you use things that you learned in school like fractions, science and art. You don't have to be good in those subjects to learn how to cook, but they are in many parts of cooking. When you half or double a recipe, you need to know fractions. When you mix things and they have to be a certain consistency, that is science. When you get creative and do things your own way with your own touch and do a nice presentation, that is art.
I would like to take a moment to talk about food contamination. When working with meats I will either keep cleaning the utensil I am using or get a fresh one. Never put food back on the same plate it came on after you have cooked it, you may give you and your family food poisoning.
Never run with a knife in your hand or show off while holding a knife. As ridiculous as it sounds, never jester when holding something sharp, you could seriously hurt someone or yourself.
The kitchen must always be the cleanest part of your house. Just because we live in modern times does not mean you can't get sick from doing things in a dirty kitchen. A dirty kitchen will attract bugs and rodents and they will then go throughout the house. Bug and especially rodents bring in diseases.
It is always a good idea to keep your house clean. It is especially true with the kitchen. Never use dirty utensils, pans or dish ware. Always make sure everything is clean before you prepare something and cleaned up after your done. No time like the present to learn how important a clean environment is.
You have many advantages over young cook´s from years gone by. If you don't keep things clean, you will suffer the same hardships and diseases they experienced.
When washing things by hand, make sure you was the handles of pans and utensils. You will be surprised at how many people do not was the handles and then wonder why they and their family are sick.
Reading Recipes Successfully
The secret to being a successful cook is preparation.
Begin by reading your chosen recipe from start to finish. Make sure you understand exactly what you´re supposed to do. If you can´t figure out a step and can´t find the answer in your cookbook, ask an adult to explain it to you.
Make sure you have all the ingredients. If you don´t, make a list of what you need. Ask an adult to help you buy them.
Gather all the necessary equipment.
Measure the ingredients accurately.
In general, it´s a good idea to finish one recipe before you start another.
Practice good safety habits.
When you´re done, put away all the ingredients and equipment.
Wash and dry the dishes (or load into a dishwasher).
Wipe off the counter and table and sweep the floor.
From: New Junior Cookbook (Better Homes & Gardens Test Kitchen)
What Do Children Gain From Cooking?
A blossoming of creativity and a sense of aesthetics.
Confidence and self-esteem; a feeling of accomplishment.
Preliminary math skills (measuring, counting, sequencing of events).
Prereading and beginning reading skills (numeral, symbol, and word recognition; left-to-right cueing).
Science awareness (enhanced powers of observation; increased understanding of time and of cause and effect, chemistry and temperature).
Small motor skills; hand-eye coordination.
Strength and endurance (stirring a thick batter or squeezing a lemon by hand can be hard work if you are only 3 feet tall!)
Patience and self-control (waiting for those Chewy Energy Circles to come out of the oven is a challenge!)
Language skills (observing, describing, predicting).
Ability to follow directions.
A sense of teamwork.
A greater "community" sense of connection to the household or classroom.
Food literacy (an openness to trying new foods, familiarity with healthy foods and where they come from, understanding the interrelationship of ingredients).