Making the best of the summer for teenagers – Cooking Skills …

Just like the teenagers, the parents are looking forward to this summer more than the previous ones, at least in the last couple or so years. This is particularly an eventful year, and the pandemic, this time around, is not at the top of the news agenda. There are so many other relatively major events –  the cost of living, heatwave, war in Easter Europe, disruption to flying abroad and a change of prime minister. One of these  – the rising cost of living due inflation – is of a particular concern to parents, as it makes it more challenging to replenish food and drink in the fridge. We parents can decide to skip a meal or two here and there but trying to get the teenager to do the same is a hard nut to crack!  This morning my daughter complained there we are not feeding her well in this house because we only have plain croissant and baguette and not pain au chocolat.

The sixteen and eighteen years old are the first to have done a proper exam in the last three years and they are so relieved it’s now all over, and they eagerly await the results. The main thing on everyone’s mind at present is how to make the best of the summer holiday. One thing I’ve always liked about the summer time is the anticipation of it. I always look forward to longer days at least, as I know that there is no guarantee of sunshine or warmer weather!

As a parent of two teenagers, discussion in my household about the summer has included all the usual – from my sixteen-year-old son getting a job over the summer to my daughter wanting to go to the gym, holiday plans and so on.

For the teenagers in particular there is so much they could do over the summer, and below is a list of some of the possible activities:

  1. Learning a new skill or two
  2. Cooking – like baking a cake or cooking pasta
  3. Doing sport and exercise
  4. Getting a paid job
  5. Volunteering or charity work
  6. Reading for pleasure
  7. Catching up with the school-work to reinforce strengths or strengthening weaknesses
  8. Going to a holiday camp
  9. Spending time with a relative or new friend
  10. Family holiday

This is just a short list and so much more can be added under each item in the above list. The link below is to one of my past blogposts with an extensive list of activities that teenagers could undertake over the summer.

I’ve always thought that I was reasonable cook until now. Although I can’t bake a cake to save my life, I can knock up a pasta sauce in about 22 minutes max.

Since my son finished his GCSE in June, he has been perfecting his cooking skills and has become a bit of an Italian food connoisseur. I get lectured every time about why the crust of a proper pizza must not be half a millimetre thicker than it should be and why cooking pasta sauce for less than three hours is a crime!

I dare no longer attempt to cook without following the correct procedure, with not only timing everything to perfection but using the precise ingredients.

Although I will never admit it to his face, his pasta source tastes rather yummy, and, unusually for me, I often help myself to a second helping when no one is looking. Whenever I’m about to get caught I’ll pretend I’m putting the sauce in a new saucepan to preserve space…

There are so many ways in which teenagers can spend the summer holidays and, as a parent, it is preferable that it isn’t one that costs too much money.

As for my fourteen-year-old daughter, what she wants to do is to spend a bit of time in the gym over the summer, and I’m likely to be going along with that, as it appears to be a little less expensive in comparison to other options that she might have chosen.

My son dreams of working at an Italian restaurant over the summer and he thinks his cooking skills and the love of Italian food make him qualify for that but I’m not entirely convinced that those two attributes are sufficient. He still hasn’t got round to finding a job yet but we’ll see how he gets on. The good thing is that the three and half hours he spends cooking pasta sauce is three and a half hours away from computer games and that’s got to be a good thing!

There are so many activities and skills that teenagers could spend their time learning over the summer and cooking is just one of them. Every week, throughout the summer, I’ll be writing about at least one of these skills. I’ll do my best to share a story or two with you about my own experience relating to each skill I write about.