Share Family History With Your Kids in the Kitchen

Hill Street Studios/ DigitalVision / Getty Images Plus
Hill Street Studios/ DigitalVision / Getty Images Plus

How do you celebrate your family’s roots? Most people would say with food, of course! All of our family celebrations seem to include food, and there can never be too many cooks in the kitchen, especially when we are trying to pass down traditions to our children. Fascinating research featured in the book The Secrets of Happy Families shows that kids who know a lot about their families tend to do better when they face life challenges. And learning family history can be shared while preparing traditional recipes or at the family dinner table through conversation.

Answers to questions like:

  • Where did your grandparents grow up?
  • Where did mom and dad meet?
  • Where did mom and dad go to high school?
  • What was something terrible that happened in the family and how was it dealt with?

Knowing these answers shows our kids they are part of something bigger than themselves. It’s more WE, less ME. Here are some fun ways to bring family history into the kitchen:

Cook with a kit. Companies like Raddish Kids and Kid Stir are creating cooking kits that fuel families to connect in the kitchen. Subscribers are mailed a themed kit every month, and the kits feature kid-friendly recipes, kitchen skill-building ideas and even ideas for creating family conversation at the dinner table. These are perfect for families that yearn to make the kitchen a place to create and have fun, all while sharing family history.

Make a fun cooking video with a relative. This is a way to get that famed recipe on record, and it’s just a whole bunch of fun to do! Grandma’s Apple Pie or Mom’s Chicken Noodle Soup — the recipe doesn’t matter. Just be sure to include details on where the recipe came from, how long it’s been in the family, and favorite kitchen tools and secrets. You’ll love the memory you created, and you can share it with family.

Spend a day with a relative making a traditional recipe that’s been passed down from generations before. Favorite holiday recipes lend themselves well to this, as there are so many favorite family recipes that are prepared year after year. Why not make an event of it? And of course, after making that special recipe, be sure to invite the family to the table for a memorable meal with more story sharing.

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Jen Haugen
Jen Haugen, RDN, LD, is a kitchen nutrition consultant based in Minnesota. She loves all things Midwest (hello, hotdish!), she gardens, and loves to bring joy into the kitchen with tools that make cooking fun! She blogs at Follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.