Frida, now 8, checks out cookbooks from the library and writes grocery lists. “We need marshmallows!” she shouts triumphantly. She knows she’s won. My capitulation pays off, though: she really can manage a meal by herself, and today she made fresh tomato sauce and (packaged) noodles for the family.

Cooking with kids is such a beautiful way to share stories and build on traditions. Today, I watched my daughter start her pasta sauce just the way I’ve taught her: by looking in the fridge for the right sized pan and cleaning out its week-old polenta.