Gift that keeps on cooking

  • Article by: MEREDITH DEEDS , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 21, 2011 - 3:31 PM

Let everyone lend a hand when making dinner by channeling Henry Ford and his assembly line.

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Cheese Wonton Raviolis let the whole family help with dinner -- reducing stress and imparting cooking skills.

Photo: Meredith Deeds, Star Tribune

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One of the things I love most about the holiday season is the food. Not just the dishes, but also the family time spent cooking them together. And while the old familiar feeling of "it's easier to just do it myself" might make sense in the short term, in the long run I've found that approach keeps the rest of my family out of the kitchen and leaves me working alone.

So, when I plan my holiday meals, I like to think about ways to get us all cooking together.

Usually that means dishes that require some handwork -- nothing too complicated, though, as I'm not looking for a stressful experience. The holidays have enough of those already. What I find works well together are recipes that can be made in assembly-line fashion, such as Cheese Wonton Raviolis.

To set up the process, I simply lay the ingredients out and the fun begins. One of my kids is in charge of the wontons, one oversees the filling, and the other handles the egg wash and pastry brush. Each feels a part of the process and, when we're done, takes pride in the finished product.

Just as important as this particular meal, however, is that they walk away feeling a little more confident about cooking. That spirit will bring them back to the kitchen again and again. Studies show that people who cook at home (especially young adults) eat much healthier diets than those who eat out, so this time in the kitchen seems particularly well spent.

While cooking skills can't be packaged up for the holidays, teaching your child how to cook is a gift that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

Meredith Deeds of Edina is the author of "Everyday to Entertaining" and "The Big Book of Appetizers." Reach her at meredith@meredithdeeds.com. Follow her on Twitter @meredithdeeds.

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