Preparing your child for life in the outside world is a daunting prospect - from paying bills to sticking to a budget, there are so many skills to learn. But being able to rustle up a vaguely nutritious meal (and we don't just mean an oven pizza) is a pretty good place to start.
Here are some great essential cooking skills to share with your teenager.
1. How to boil water in a pan
A basic skill, but one which will enable your teen to cook boiled vegetables, pasta, rice and potatoes (as opposed to just boiling the kettle to make a Pot Noodle). It’s also worth showing them how to safely drain the hot water from the food once cooked.
2. How to cook eggs
Whether scrambled, poached, fried or boiled, eggs are a tasty, affordable and versatile source of protein that can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch and even dinner in the form of a tasty omelette.
3. Chopping skills
Pop a damp cloth underneath the chopping board to secure it, and chose a sharp knife to demonstrate. Believe it or not, a dull one can actually be more dangerous when it comes to chopping vegetables – if the knife is too blunt, they might end up being more careless as they hack away at the food.
For smaller children, opt for a specially designed safety knife such as the KiddiKutter Children’s Safety Knife.
4. At least one pasta dish
From a classic spaghetti Bolognese to a tuna penne bake, pasta is a great staple dish for your teen to get to grips with. It can also be batch cooked when they move into their own digs, to take them through the week.
5. Knowing when meat is fully cooked
A herb-crusted rack of lamb or a full Sunday roast might be a bit advanced, but some basic knowledge of cooking meat (and making sure it’s done) will prove useful – at the very least to avoid food poisoning.
Opt for a couple of simple options, such as diced chicken breast (a tasty component or curries and stir fries), or lean beef mince (for chillis and bologneses).
6. Food hygiene
Explain to your teen the importance of using different chopping boards for cooked and raw meat, washing hands before prepping, and after handling raw meat.
7. Planning ahead
Meal planning is a concept lost on many teenagers, but it’s a useful skill to have. Making a proper shopping list and doing a quick stocktake in the kitchen before getting started will save any last-minute dashes to the corner shop when they realise they’re missing a vital ingredient.
8. Washing up
Perhaps the most hard-to-master skill of all; getting your teenager to don their rubber gloves and tackle all the dirty dishes they’ve created.