07/18/2013 04:21 pm ET Updated Sep 17, 2013

Cooking With Children

Food can evoke cherished memories, many of which are formed during childhood. Summer vacation is the perfect opportunity to create and share culinary memories with children. My daughter and I have been making these memories since she was in her high chair.

Anyone who has ever cooked with a child knows firsthand that it can become a comedy act as they shape and mold things independently. As a classically-trained chef, I am conditioned to make everything precise and perfect. When I first began cooking with my daughter, she would smash her cookie on top of my symmetrically-formed cookie. She would break off pieces of our homemade piecrust, roll them up, and tell me she made little worms. She would poke holes in our flawless circular pizza dough to create a face when I turned my back. She would laugh and giggle. And so would I. While cooking with her, I let go of "perfection." The experience was liberating for me, and it brought the child-like enjoyment back into my cooking rather than the military routine that had taken its place. The precision and perfection of my training crumbled in laughter while cooking with my child. Yes, we ate pizza with holes in it. We laughed and joked the entire time we ate. The pizza still tasted great -- even better than usual because we were bonding, creating memories, and forging a lasting relationship that continues to grow as we continue to share time in and out of the kitchen.

While cooking with my daughter, I learned that children are connected to food with a wide-eyed wonderment that will lure them back into the kitchen with you, even as they become older. They revel in the magical transformation as they watch what they helped create turn into something delicious to eat. Cooking is not a laborious task for them; it's wholesome gratification. On a grander scale, cooking with children can also be educational. Once you show children how to do something, they will eventually want to duplicate and create on their own.

I share with you my fun summertime Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes that children will adore!

Franco's Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes recipe.