My brother is two years younger than me. Now, there really shouldn't be many things that I'm envious about, but the fact that he can put food away like no other without feeling sick, bloated or just all around gross is something I envy. I'd like to be able to eat a stack of pancakes every day but my jeans and I both know that would be a problem. 

wine, coffee
Hannah Cooper

I haven't lived at home since junior year of high school so the times I get to cook for my brother are limited to holidays, summer break, and any chance I get to visit home. I love cooking for him because I can cook what I want to eat and live vicariously through him enjoying whatever I make. Sometimes he'll give me input, like "I want something savory" or "make some form of french toast" or he'll give me some ingredients and say "go for it."

I enjoy cooking for people, it's just how I show people I care about them. So when he tells me to cook for him I get excited and feel like I'm on Chopped. Here are a few things I've learned from cooking for younger siblings so far. 

1. Don't think about your own food preferences.

vegetable, salad, meat, spinach
Hannah Cooper

I'm a very health-oriented person, so whenever I make a meal, I always think about how many vegetables or fruits I can squeeze in. However, when it comes to my brother, my food preferences are thrown out the window because all he cares about is flavor, heartiness, and carbohydrate overload. 

 2. Take the dish to the extreme level. 

sauce, chicken, gravy, honey
Hannah Cooper

Like Emeril says, "Kick it up a knotch!" and that's what you have to do when cooking for sibblings. Why not upgrade the same ol' French toast your mom's been making since you were a child and create stuffed french toast with homemade peanut butter and bananas? 

3. Always search Pinterest and YouTube.

Hannah Cooper

One of the last meals I made for my brother before going back to school was a homemade McDonald's Bacon, Egg, and Cheese McGriddle. We found a video on Youtube and decided to try it out. The recipe was so easy and fun, so we decided to make it the following morning as well. 

4. Always save cookie dough. 

cream, ice
Hannah Cooper

When someone tells you they like cookies more than the dough, they're lying to you. The dough is by far the best part of the whole process, so setting some aside is a for sure way to make your sibling's day.  

5. Recreating fast food favorites is a win. 

meat, seafood, fish, chicken
Hannah Cooper

My brother loves Chick-fil-A; if he could eat it every day, he totally would, and I'm sure he secretly does. This summer, I recreated the signature Chick-fil-A chicken tenders and Chick-fil-A sauce and they were a hit. I had to make a second batch because they disappeared so quickly. 

6. His friends will come over more often. 

sandwich, turkey, avocado, lettuce, pesto, cheese, bread, chicken, tomato
Hannah Cooper

Whenever my brother's friends come over, there is a 90% chance they will ask me to make them something. Usually, it's this sandwich, but occasionally, I'll get nacho, mac and cheese, or breakfast requests. 

7. Desserts aren't the go-to.   

sweet, cake, rice, pastry, cookie, chocolate, candy
Hannah Cooper

Although desserts are awesome, I've learned through cooking for my brother that they aren't the major player in his diet. He'd prefer something savory over something sweet, so when I make a treat, I always decrease the amount of sugar in the recipe. 

Cooking for my brother (or any younger siblings) has been a fun learning experience. I'm always down to cook and, when I want to experiment with something new, my brother is always there to taste test.