Ezra's Cookbook

Play With Your Food

This post is sponsored by Blue Apron


Here's a little secret about kids "helping" in the kitchen: It's not always all that helpful.

At least, not at first. There are a lot of spills. A lot of messes. Ingredients hit the floor. An egg gets pulverized against the rim of a bowl. A simmering pot has been stirred a bit too vigorously and now there's chili all over the wall. 


It can be maddeningly slow, and frustratingly imperfect. An onion takes 20 minutes to dice. Ten minutes to peel an avocado. Four tries to get the aluminum on the baking sheet without ripping it. They forget to set the timer and wander away from the rice right at the wrong moment. You set them up prepping an ingredient and don't notice until it's too late that they've gone ahead and eaten most of it. 


There might be some accidents along the way. Someone might forget that a burner is on, or learn the hard way that boiling water splashes outward if you toss potatoes in too quickly. (Just last night someone knocked a chef's knife onto the floor, where it barely missed falling blade down onto my bare foot.)


Watch your fingers, you say on repeat. Watch your fingers watch your fingers watch your fingers. 


But of course, you keep letting them help. Because they do enjoy it, and it's good for them to enjoy it. And eventually the "help" starts to become...well, helpful. Ezra knows the proper way to grip a knife, and understands exactly how much salt and pepper to add. Ike doesn't need to be told where the cheese grater is, or how to juice a lime.


Unfamiliar ingredients, while still occasionally treated with great suspicion out on the dinner table, aren't as scary here in the kitchen. They're fun and colorful, and everybody knows that everything tastes better if it's something you helped make. 

(Roasted sweet potato quesadillas with pickled peppers and avocado salad.)

(Noah, not such a big fan of the helping, but always a fan of the eating.)

Thanks to Blue Apron for sponsoring this post, and for continuing to make it SO MUCH EASIER to get our kids involved in the kitchen and to have fun, healthy family meals together, especially on crazy weeknights. If you want to eat (or cook) better n 2018, definitely give Blue Apron a try. (In case you've missed my 1,700 posts on the topic, Blue Apron is a meal delivery service that sends step-by-step recipes and pre-portioned ingredients right to your door.) If you've use the service in the past, they've now expanded their menu offerings to EIGHT meals a week, and you can receive any combination of those eight. Want two meals one week and three the next, or need to skip a week altogether? ALSO SO EASY, especially using the Blue Apron app. We lovvvvvvve it. 

The first 50 readers will get $30 off their first order via this link. So go ahead! Have some fun in the kitchen this year. 




I’m so nervous: is that a humongous knife right there next to Ezra in those last two photos as they play fight?

Amy in StL

I did not know they have an app. Between my mom who doesn't eat chicken and my current dude who doesn't eat carbs; Blue Apron really makes it so I can have at least one meal with each of them that I made... Now I'm off to download the app.

Sue W

Someday their wives will LOVE that they cook! Mad knife skillz are a plus too. My DAD is who taught me how to handle a chefs knife when I wasn't much older than In a. Watch your fingers and don't be afraid of the knife were both oft repeated mantras by him.

Sue W.

"In a" = IKE. Stooped autocorrect anyway. Someday I will learn to proofread before I hit send.


You only get 8 options if you sign up for the 2-person plan. Unless you've got some magic key to unlock that for the family plan?


After reading the eleventy first ‘omg Blue Apron is amazong’ - we tried it. And we cook, from scratch, regularly! It. Is. Amazing.

Also I love you and your kids and your husband. And your writing. And your courage in talking about the mental demons. It helps, it’s dark when you are inside that hole, but knowing others who have also been/ are there - it helps.

Andrea Currie

We tried a similar thing here in Canada - the food was amazing but the thing i couldn't get past was the crazy amount of packaging waste. I'd love your take on this!


I love that Ezra has his tongue out when he is chopping. I do the same thing, especially when I am using scissors.


Teaching kids to COOK (not bake) is major life skill. Super helpful in future relationships too.


I had to laugh about the “onion dicing taking 20 minutes” bit. I am an adult who didn’t get to develop basic kitchen skills as a child, and so it takes me about 20 minutes to prep an onion, too. I’m so glad to hear your kids are getting that practice time in now.


Blue Apron has a page on their site about how to recycle all of the packaging. Love that, as it was something that bothered me, too.

The comments to this entry are closed.