Recently I instituted a new policy with my kids, borrowed from a Michael Pollan adage: We can have dessert as often as you want, as long as you make it yourselves. I announced this a few months ago, and honestly it was an aside, tossed out casually without preamble, unaccompanied by the fanfare of some of my other more memorable parental pronouncements.
Then guess what happened… They started baking. ALL THE TIME. They’re WAY into it – surfing the web for recipes, consulting various versions of brownie recipes, experimenting with ingredient substitutions. There has even been sibling bickering (“You baked yesterday, it’s my turn!”). My 13 year old son recently announced to his friend during a sleepover, “Let’s go biking, then play [insert name of some video game], then make a carrot cake!” I inwardly cringed, fearing the friend might scoff, but instead he replied with, “Cool! Can we make cream cheese frosting?”
I’ve tried for years to get my kids cooking – and while they’ll always help when asked, this dessert thing is the first time they’ve initiated it with gusto. I guess it’s that old adage that necessity is the mother of invention. Now the kids will come home after school and text us at work for permission to bake. We’re having homemade desserts 3-4 nights a week, which is about the same frequency as we had desserts before, except now they’re all homemade (and some of them even taste good 🙂 )
And after we instituted some rather fanfare-filled pronouncements about cleaning up after baking, I have to say that I am loving our new routine – so if you eat dessert in your house and you want to get your kids cooking, maybe try out this new policy yourself.
ps. Looking for a good recipe to start with? Try our Busy-Day Chocolate Cake.