I spend a lot of time at home cooking, as you’d expect. Before kids, cooking was a really relaxing time for me, a time to switch off, listen to the radio, crack open a beer or glass of wine and mindlessly chop some veg.
With kids now its obviously completely different and pretty much the opposite of relaxing, but it’s still something I love doing with my toddler. My son has his own toy wooden kitchen full of foods so he already knows what each one is and when he cooks with me he gets to see the real thing up close. He can pick it up, smell it, taste it, peel it, whatever he wants. Plus I’m convinced there is a direct correlation with him eating more when he’s been involved with the making of it.
Safety is obviously critical. Instead of hiding everything sharp in the kitchen we put all the non-dangerous stuff (wooden spoons etc) into one drawer and taught him that this was the one drawer he could open. Now he runs around the kitchen merrily banging wooden spoons on pots but knows he can’t go near anything dangerous. We also spent a lot of time teaching Basti about the hob, kettle, boiling water etc and I obviously keep him at a safe distance from the action.