Yes, Any 4-Year-Old Can Sous-Chef

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"Your 4-year-old can sous chef" by Charlene Bader (CatholicMom.com)

Image credit: Pixabay.com (2013), CC0/PD

Turn off that TV, and throw open those baby gates: It’s 4:00 PM on a school night and time to cook family-style! 

Now cooking is praying twice, so don’t let your hangry little ones miss this holy hour. If Baby’s napping: wake-y, wake-y to the stickiest room in your home.

And remember, chef, the more kids you line up down that counter — just crowd them in like a family pew on Sunday — the more mysterious nutrition they will cram into your holy feast. Oh, how our God works in mysterious ways. Just look down your row of sweet surprise babies. Mysterious ways.

If your preschooler can open a child-safety-locked kitchen cabinet, she can chop an onion. Yes, any 4-year-old can sous chef!

Cheerfully cheer as your little ones chop, chop, chop! Oh, you are worried and anxious about so many things, dear chef. Let them at that board with tired eyes and clumsy hands. Do not their guardian angels stand near?

Let’s claim the dinner victory! Shepherding little lambs through holy family cooking hour might tempt you to lose your joy. But we need to get our domestic church choir singing, so the joy, joy, joy, joy can fill our kitchens!

And yet, pious parents, can the Lord be glorified by crumbly meatloaf and soupy sauce? Bless your heart, no than He could find delight in unplated bananas or microwaved nuggets. Let your food be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Do you want your baby boy — see how heartily he rips kale from stalk to pot! — to grow up strong and moral? Then train up this child in the way he should go, which clearly means thou shalt not put that butter direct from fridge to microwave. (Yes, it flaunts a “soften” button like a nursery sign at Sunday Mass, but what part of “Thou shalt not” …)

Can you feel the joy of cooking family-style?

The plating of your little one’s meal reveals the purest vision of a parent’s soul. Do you create a merry meatball mouse leaping in bright green bean hills beneath whipped russet clouds? Or does the gloppy abyss of hell leak runaway gravy into your smutty stack of scallops? Do not be weighed and found wanting in the artistry of family dinner, chef. What will little Joseph’s dinner tell the world of your eternal destiny?

And finally, dear parents, let this truth be declared in your homes: Thou shalt not lead a child astray by prematurely mixing ingredients to avoid the just and dignified work of washing every cup, bowl, pot, and plate in the house after supper. Better a millstone around your neck than to leave a container unused or a cabinet unemptied during family cooking hour.

Now be blessed, chef. Be blessed.

Food for thought

Is it actually unholy for parents to serve their children unplated bananas and microwaved chicken nuggets? In addition to cooking, what are some other areas of parenting that easily confuse “Pinterest Perfect” with holiness?


Copyright 2019 Charlene Bader

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About Author

Born and raised in Texas, Charlene Bader enjoys teaching, editing, and writing while raising 5 boys with her husband, Wally. She learned to love Scripture from her Baptist parents and liturgy from her Episcopal grandma. In 2003, she converted to Catholicism. Charlene is passionate about helping others experience a personal, relevant connection to the Lord in their everyday lives. She writes personally at her blog, Sunrise Breaking.

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