The holiday season is here and I couldn’t love it more. This time of year is dedicated to family, friends, gratitude, giving and togetherness. What great things!

This is also a season where many of us spend more time in the kitchen. Perhaps we’re preparing a feast for the entire family for Thanksgiving. Maybe we’re making our favorite dish to bring to a holiday party. Or maybe we just feel more inclined to bring out the recipe box and make savory, soothing dishes for our family.

Do you invite your children or spouse to cook with you? If you can, open up your kitchen and allow others to help you make a favorite meal. I promise you’ll come to cherish this time together in the kitchen.

Let the little ones pull up a chair to the counter and get in on the action. You may not realize it, but your kitchen is a wonderful classroom. You can teach your children how to read recipes, follow instructions, and to measure out the ingredients (what a great way to talk about a tablespoon vs. a teaspoon!). Allow them to dump and pour ingredients in the bowl, and give them a turn stirring the ingredients together. If a recipe warrants it, allow them to add sugar or spices or perhaps try their hand at cracking an egg.

As you allow them to help you cook or bake or both, share stories about how you used to help your mom or dad or grandparents cook in the kitchen. Talk about favorite dishes or sweet treats you remember from your childhood. I know for me there were special cookies and pies baked only during the holiday season. The cookies were stored in gold metal tins and when we saw those on grandma’s counter, my siblings and I immediately got excited about what was inside.

If you have special recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation, talk to your children about these. Maybe your grandfather had a special way to make mashed potatoes. Maybe an aunt made the best homemade stuffing. Share with your children these stories and what made the dishes so special.

Wishing you much joy and delicious food this holiday season!