Recipes From A Normal Mum: ‘It’s time to let our kids in the kitchen, mess, chaos, spillages and all!’

This week, Holly says it time to throw the perfect home-maker image out the window, and let you little ones help out with meal prep. Even if that means the odd eggshell in your dinner...

holly bell recipes from a normal one blog closer online

by Holly Bell & Hayley Kadrou |
Published on

Being a finalist of a show such as The Great British Bake Off, you'd expect that Holly would want her meals to look cook-book perfect. Perfectly portioned, expertly presented, and ever last detail egg-glazed and flour-dusted.

But, for mum-of-three Holly, what's much important, is persuading your little ones to get hands on in the kitchen - even if that means a less picturesque bolognese.

Holly Bell: ‘It's time to let our kids in the kitchen, mess, chaos, spillages and all!'

"I have lost count how many times I’ve heard intelligent, caring, competent parents state that they just can’t bring themselves to let their kids help in the kitchen due to the mess, time, possible wastage, etc.

"Mostly I smile and nod. I try and appear to be understanding. I do get it. I’m not Mary Poppins. Of course having an overzealous helper on a Monday night who wants to mix cocoa into his scrambled eggs (move over Heston) when you’re already late in from after school clubs and work isn’t ideal.

"Let’s be honest here; not every cooking day is a group activity opportunity. But really, (and sorry to be blunt), how on earth can anyone expect their sons/daughters to fend for themselves upon leaving home without basic kitchen skills?

"You wouldn’t send them out into the world without other essential skills, so why is it a badge of honour to proclaim your home-making analness is a barrier to allowing kids to learn basic cooking and kitchen skills?

"This isn’t just about preparing kids to fend for themselves. If it were, we’d just teach children 10 basic, super healthy dishes and be done with it. This is about expanding tastes, helping fussy eaters embrace food (for what a little one prepares they seem to be so much more likely to eat) and simply wallowing in the joy that is Good Food.

"For me it’s all about age appropriate helping. When the boys were under two they mostly put the vegetables on the chopping board, we chatted about colours, textures and they always had their own spoon, a little bowl and two tablespoons of flour with some form of spice to mix up. They didn’t actually contribute very much to the process of cooking dinner, but they thought they did, and that’s what matters.

"They moved on to cracking eggs (and yes, we did sometimes find a bit of shell in our food but hey-ho, I’ve eaten worse), stirring, peeling, cutting, layering and marinating. Lately we are navigating dealing with heat. They are interested in food, they like choosing fruit and vegetables at the shops, they especially enjoy making salad dressing potions and washing up, (at the moment), is similarly exciting.

"Kids do love making fairy cakes and biscuits, granted, but watching their joy at feeding the whole family an evening meal that’s lingered over, discussed and praised is a joy to behold. This mango chicken is easy to measure out, stir up and serve. Perfect for little helpers."

Fancy trying Holly's fruit mango chicken?

Mango chicken thigh recipe holly bell recipes from a normal mum food blog
©Holly Bell

RECIPE: Holly Bell's Mango Chicken

You may also like...

BLOG 1: Recipes From A Normal Mum: ‘Of course I find cooking stressful at times, doesn't everyone?’

BLOG 2: Recipes From A Normal Mum: ‘My perfect cakes are no reflection of home life – it’s chaos!’

Recipes From A Normal Mum: Homemade Chicken Nuggets Recipe

Find more from Holly at:

Twitter: @HollyBellMummy

Instagram: @hollybellmummy

Facebook: Recipes from a Normal Mum

Pinterest: Recipes from a Normal Mum.

YouTube: Holly Bell{=nofollow}

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us