“If you can read, you can cook,” is as ugly a lie as you can get. I can read just fine, but I cook (and I quote my children) “so-so, at best”.
My mother was an excellent reader, but her cooking left much to be desired. What mama lacked in motivation, however, she made up for in execution.
My oldest sister remembers a time when she couldn’t yet read and how mama would have her prepare food, reading the instructions aloud. Mama enhanced the experience by giving my sister beautiful aprons to wear: there was a drawer full of child-sized aprons, and mama would open the drawer and let my sister sort through the colors and styles until she found the apron that fit the recipe.
Then mama would place the high stool by the counter and open the cook book.
Although, my sister couldn’t read, she scanned the page as mama pointed at the list of ingredients. Mama would read and my sister would measure, or zest, or stir, blend or fold. Whatever mama read, my sister would do.
Mama knew how to delegate, and she knew how to encourage: “That is the prettiest lemon meringue pie I have ever seen! Certainly the prettiest ever made by a four-year-old!”