Hibachi style dinner party at the Angara Maximus grill table

Grilling with kids is fun with the Angara BBQ Table! | iBBQ

It's a family affair with the Angara Barbecue Table!

The traditional role of Dad working away feverishly at the BBQ is no longer the image today's luxury outdoor grill manufacturers want to encourage. The experience of cooking on new innovative products like the Angara barbecue table is changing the perceptions of how we enjoy our summer BBQ. In addition to the state of the art technology, the barbecue table's stunning design offers a built-in grill system down the center of the unit. The location of the cooking surfaces allows maximum interaction with friends and family sitting on either side of the table. Everyone is cooking on this barbie. It's a family affair, and that includes the kids, too!

Children can join in the cooking process

Most parents can remember the fun and excitement associated with helping to bake cookies or the fun of applying icing to cupcakes. As a reward for mixing ingredients, we were treated to a taste of cookie dough or better still the opportunity to lick off every last bit of icing on the mixing spoon. While rewards may not be quite as instant for children during the prep period before grilling, the final prize will be the food on their plates. Knowing they were responsible for mixing the ingredients and forming the patties for that mouth-watering hamburger will be a personal source of pride. Depending on the age and maturity level of children, parents can provide fun tasks to everyone at the barbecue table when the experience of backyard grilling begins. The tasks can vary. Some children can work in the kitchen to help mom, dad or an older sibling with the preparation of a marinade for one of the grilled proteins. Older children can work the tongs or spatula at grill side. Include children in the decision-making process when discussing menu choices. If pizza is the family's dinner choice children can offer suggestions for toppings and apply them after the dough is prepared. Kneading dough is a great task for kids! We have great recipes for a family pizza night right here. Children can also pick the appropriate vegetables for meat or fish dishes. When a tasty shish-kabob is planned for the grill children can help thread the appropriate vegetables and meat portions onto skewers. Also it's a good idea to include your kids when preparing a shopping list and let them come along and help at the grocery store. Whatever the role they play; the kids can become an integral part of the magic of dinner.

Safety first

Before preparations for family meals on the grill begin, there are some fundamental rules of safety that need to be addressed. When there is more than one cook in the kitchen, the principles of teamwork assume that at least one member of the cooking brigade will assume the leadership role. In the backyard barbecue scenario, it's usually a parent. In their absence, a teenager could easily fill the role. One of their job requirements is ensuring all family members adhere to some basic safety rules. Some of the important safety points are as follows.
  • Proper hand-washing techniques need to be followed. Explain to children the reasons for good hygiene.
  • Everything on the grill or in the vicinity of the grill is hot. Children who may forget easily need to be wearing appropriate oven mitts or potholders to protect their hands from getting burned. What seems obvious to us may not be so to them.
  • Keep long hair tied back. When using utensils or kitchen tools make sure hands and cooking equipment are dry. The use of kitchen knives among children is possible, but parents need to use discretion when younger ones are doing the dicing and slicing. The child learning to use a knife should be able to take instruction. Age range is less important for this task. It is really more dependent on the level of maturity for each child, and a parent should be the one with the final say on that decision.
  • Anyone, including the grown-ups, with limited experience using knives should follow some basic tips. Chop slowly. Cut away from the body. Ensure the work surface is non-slip. When cutting hold knife firmly with dominant hand. The fingers of the hand holding the food should be curled inwards. When cutting through the food use a rocking motion with the knife. The knife should not leave the working surface. As you cut the food, move the hand with the curled fingers along the working surface. Practice makes perfect. And remember, knives are not toys! Parents or an older sibling should always supervise.

The pay-off

Cooking together as a family can provide your children with important life-skills. Through time spent together preparing meals, children learn to organize their time, hone their motor skills and be part of a team. For parents, there is an even greater prize. The joy and excitement evident in those young eyes when they dive head first into a portion of grilled vegetables they helped cook. Imagine that.