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Teaching Lu how to use a knife

Mom and daughter making salsa

In Season 3 of my podcast, Two Kids and A Career, there have been a lot of discussions about food. I’ve talked to guests about the joy food can bring, the destruction food can bring, the healing components food can bring, and the education food can bring. In most of these conversations, I’ve brought up my concerns about our oldest daughter, Lu, and her picky ways. The girl could live on chicken nuggets, French fries, ranch, and ketchup. All my guests had the same advice for me: involve her in the kitchen more and she will start to try new foods. I was even told to have her help cut up fruits and veggies. Wait, what? You think my almost four-year-old should use a knife? I don’t trust myself with a knife and now I’m supposed to teach my daughter how to use one?!?!

After I got over the initial shock of putting a knife into her hands, I knew this couldn’t be about me and Lu needed to learn. It would be the best way to expose her to all kinds of new foods she may enjoy. I made a plea on social media for easy recipes and any tips on involving Lu in the kitchen. Jen Cowan, aka And Hattie Makes Three, reached out and sent me a link to kids kitchen knives on Amazon. She bought them for her daughter, Hattie, and Jen said they were perfect for teaching Hattie how to cut up fruits and veggies. After reading the reviews and calming my nerves with a glass of wine, I purchased the knives. The knives I bought are no longer available, but I did find these knives and they are very similar to what we have.

I decided the first thing Lu could cut would be tomatoes for the homemade Pico de Gallo that I make on a weekly basis. How hard could it be to cut tomatoes, right? Well, it’s not hard, but when you take a mama who isn’t comfortable with knives in the first place and you team that up with a 3 ½ year-old who has never used a knife and has no concept of SAFE PRACTICES … let’s just say Brian should have been the one to teach her.

I admit, I wasn’t very patient, and it wasn’t a pleasant experience for me. On the flip side, I think Lu enjoyed it and she even tried one of the tomatoes she cut up.

Teaching Lu how to use a knife

Fast forward to this past weekend.

Messy Mommies In The City posted a recipe for Strawberry Shortcake I wanted to try.

Strawberry Shortcake Recipe
Photo by Messy Mommies In The City

I thought this would be a good time to bust out those kids knives again and have Lu help me cut up the strawberries. I told myself I would be more patient and give her some space. Before we started, I reminded Lu to keep the blade down and not swing it all over the place and to let me know if she needed any help. We worked pretty well together this time around.

Lu cutting strawberries

Before I continue, here’s a pic of the shortcake and the finished product. Unlike the recipe, I didn’t layer the shortcake with the whipped cream and strawberries. I cut the shortcake like a piece of pie and then put the strawberries and whipped cream on top. It was yummy!

Oh – the whipped cream recipe called for granulated sugar, but I always use confectioners' sugar for my whipped cream. Is there a big difference?


Strawberry Shortcake with whipped cream

I know I need to trust Lu more and not let my fear of her getting hurt cause angst. That creates an awful environment, and nobody wins. I won’t ever stop worrying about her, but I aim to be better about not letting my worry be so apparent and ruin the moment. I’m looking forward to more time spent together in the kitchen and hopefully more time in the kitchen will mean Lu will try more foods! FINGERS CROSSED!

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