For about a year now, our oldest son has been gathering friends in our kitchen every other Tuesday night to cook a meal together. It began last summer with his friend Loryn (that's her in the photo above) and their common interest in cooking. She had wrapped up her first year of a high school culinary program, and Jackson had found that he really enjoyed cooking meals. So for the summer months, they decided that they would plan a meal, ride their bikes to the store to shop and then prepare the meal together. Once they had a rhythm down, they began to invite a friend or two over to join them for the meal. They had such fun that they carried this tradition through the school year.
It's been great fun to watch all of these teens learn how to cook new foods. Some weeks are quite involved, like the night they decided to make pasta from scratch, and other nights are simple meals like tacos or breakfast for dinner. Either way, they always have fun and make a tasty dinner!
There are a few squabbles between Jackson and Loryn, but they are good natured about it. Loryn has been learning to prepare food in a commercial kitchen at her school and has been taught how to properly cut foods or set up stations. Jackson is a "home cook" as he will tell her, therefore he doesn't "have to follow all of those fussy rules." The two of them go back and forth like a pair of siblings, and it is humorous to witness.
I hope this is something they continue through high school. They are learning not only the skills it takes to prepare a meal from start to finish but also how to practice hospitality. It has also been a great way for me to get to know Jackson's friends better. The teens like to visit while they pull together that night's salad dressing or share about their school day when we sit down at the table to eat.
I can't wait to see what they cook up next week!