Every time I see our son Hayden push his kitchen stool over to where I’m cooking and say “Daddy, I help,” it stops me cold, as if I’m looking back at my younger self repeating the same ritual with my own father. I love seeing the excitement in his eyes as I tie a kitchen towel around his waist, pour off a little of what I’m working on into a smaller bowl, and let him whisk it all over the counter. As we both proudly serve homemade pancakes to his mother, his older brother, and his baby sister—pancakes that he helped crack the eggs for, helped pour onto the griddle and serve—it’s inspiring to see all of the wide-eyed enthusiasm of a three-year-old who really enjoys being around cooking. The way I see it, my kitchen is a sanctuary of nourishment and discovery, full of warm smells, flavors, and experiences that will hopefully bake into a memory that will last my children a lifetime. To see a smile on Hayden’s face as we cook together is all I need to remind me that it’s my turn to teach the next generation that we’re all important, we’re connected, and we care for each other— and in our house, we do it through food.

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