Posted by: Catherine | January 23, 2009

Emma’s Cooking School


Emma making spitini.

A few years ago, when Emma was having trouble with fractions (which is bigger: 2/3 or 3/4?), the director of her school–a very smart woman, whose advice, on the rare occasions I seek it, makes me think for just a nanosecond that the $24,000 tuition is worth every penny–suggested we cook together. We do, I assured her. No…really cook, where Emma does everything, not just assist or grease the pans.  So we started Friday Cooking School. On Thursday nights, after homework for the week was done, we got under the comforter and went through my recipes, picking an entree and a dessert to make for dinner the next night. After school on Friday, we went to the one or two grocery stores needed to get all the ingredients,  and  got to work.

To this day, we plot and plan our Cooking Schools, usually under the covers, the bed piled with cookbooks and recipes, the TV tuned to The Food Network, and now that it’s winter we have a fire going, too. Sometimes we invite friends (mine and hers) to join us; usually it’s just our thing. Often, when I think Emma is on iChat, I find that she’s scouring The Food Network web site for recipes we can try together, or that she can now make on her own.


So many life lessons learned:

  •  The importance of reading directions carefully.
  • The importance of reading ALL the directions before you begin doing anything.
  •  Number of ounces/tablespoons/teaspoons in a cup/pint/quart/pound, etc.
  •  If you mess up, chances are you can fix with a little creativity, imagination and know-how.
  •  How to double–or halve–a recipe…and fractions and mixed numbers.
  •  Learning relative values of fractions.
  •  Learning patience with each other, and letting mommy teach without saying “I know” over and over.
  •  Learning how absolutely wonderful mommy is (because I am not above pointing out that I’ve taken the whole afternoon off to do this, and what other mommies are doing that?)
  •  Loving doing anything together.


Here are some of our favorite things we’ve made:      

My friend Karen, who had her own cookie business, decided she wanted her own Cooking School with Emma. It's really a baking school, and here are some Valentine's Day cupcakes they just made (while Bruce and I went to the movies).

My friend Karen, who had a cookie business, decided she wanted her own Cooking School with Emma. It's really a baking school, and here are some Valentine's Day cupcakes they just made (while Bruce and I went to the movies).





  1. love those cupcakes. They are gorgeous! How much fun do Emma and I have together. We definitely go through our sugar high and then CRASH. It is worth it!

  2. What a fun idea. My children like to help out in the kitchen sometimes and my oldest son is now starting to pick out recipes on his own and try them. Once he used powdered sugar in place of flour for some chocolate chip cookies. They were terrible but we were so proud of all he had learned!

  3. My niece sent me this site. My grandson and I are having a day cooking camp. He wants to learn how to make chicken curry,yet! So I will keep an eye on your web site for future cooking sessions with my grandson.

  4. I think this is great. I can’t wait to have kids of my own so that we can have our own cooking night.

    These are memories Emma will cherish all of her life.

  5. I homeschool my 7 (soon to by 8) year old daughter. I fully enjoy the time we get to spend together but Im always looking for things to make that time mean more. This is an awesome idea! Ive already began rearranging schedules and lesson plans to fit it in once a week. Bravo!!

    • What a lovely comment! Thanks so much,and I do hope you and your daughter enjoy making these goodies as much as Emma and I.

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