Being a parent is a mixture of elation, exhaustion, delight and fear, sometimes all at the same time!

It’s the most natural thing in the world, and sometimes the most difficult, especially in the complex maze that is modern western life.

In a world where everyone has an opinion about what you’re doing, and may well share it on Facebook, there’s a need for celebration of the small joys of being a Mum or Dad.

One of those small joys is watching your kids learn to be able to care for themselves – the real independence that comes from cooking their own food, keeping their lives in (mild) order and making their own way in the world, whichever that way may be. And it’s Mums and Dads who impart those everyday skills for survival.

Just think about it – if your parents hadn’t taught you how to cook, how to do your own laundry, how to grow vegetables, how to change a three-pin plug, how to mow the lawn (and change the sparkplug in the lawnmower), how to look after pets, how to be kind and considerate, how to ask for and give help when it’s needed… what would your life be like?

So there are lots of small things that parents need a pat on the back for. Probably one of the most important, and the one that we should all be most grateful to our parents for, is the skill to grow our own food (or at least some of it) and to prepare a nutritious meal

food is, after all, a fundamental human need, and without it we don’t last long!

When times get tough, and there’s not a lot of money to go round, being able to prepare cheap and nourishing food is one of the top priorities.

Those of us lucky enough to watch a capable home cook or gardener and soak up their skills by messing about alongside them, have much to be grateful for. Even if you didn’t have the good fortune to acquire your culinary skills from your parents, you can still learn some basics and pass them on to your own children – they really will be grateful one day.

And, even if you’re afraid you can’t boil an egg successfully, take heart and have a go: your kids will learn alongside you and still be grateful (although they may gloat if their pumpkin soup turns out to be better than yours…). And one day they may just startle you by making the dinner for you and saying “thanks for teaching me how to do this!”

For those who would like a few nice basic recipes that can be shared with the children, and may even become family favourites, these have at least some ingredients you can grow in your own garden, a friend’s back yard, or scavenge from public trees. And they may help you on your way to that celebratory dinner somewhere in the future…

Basic recipes for cooking with kids

Vegetables and pasta in spiced tomato sauce

Pea and bacon soup

Cheesy muffins

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Robert Glensor is the founder of the Paraoa Bakehouse- the home of Purebread organic breads and Gluten Free Goodies. With a love of good bread and a passion for all things organic and sustainable, Robert writes about all manner of issues to do with living green.

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