Friday, April 13, 2012

Industrial resolutions --> Cooking with Kids

The standard shtick about New Year's Resolutions is that they're bound to fail.

But sometimes being resolute actually . . . um . . . resolves things.  Case in point: my own decision (probably Resolution #8 in a list that was 53 items long, if I'd bothered to number them) to have one night a week where my sons cook dinner.

Somehow, "Cooking With Kids" has taken on a life of its own.  We've gone from one night a week (with J-son and N-son alternating weeks) to all four kids cooking each week, vying for the best meal.  C-son, new to the home, has told us he wants to be a chef.  Since he does not yet know the difference between Tablespoons and teaspoons, we figure he has a long way to go on this goal . . . but the intention is there.  And he's learning fast.  He's got two meals under his belt in his one week under our roof.

Cooking with Kids takes a bit of advance planning over the weekend: schedules must be coordinated.  The freezer and its contents have to be part of the conversation.  Shopping lists come together.  Without the advance planning, good intentions pave the road for exuberant grocery-shopping sprees.

But the weekend work is worth it.  Here is the latest week of cooking, with a recipe for N-son's "Scalloped Sweet Potatoes" thrown in.

Monday: N-son cooked.  For dinner we had Shrimp Gumbo (defrosted from the freezer), black-bean hummus, and a new dish:
Scalloped Sweet Potatoes.   Peel a pile of sweet potatoes.  Using the cuisinart -- aka, the most fun machine in the entire kitchen according to every single one of my children -- slice the sweet potatoes very thin: say, 1 mm.  Coat the slices in a mixture of vegetable oil, salt, garlic, and paprika.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Serve hot.  
We made up two pans of this.  This was what was left of the second pan:
What scalloped sweet potatoes look like, after my family has had at 'em.
Tuesday:  J-son made stroganoff and rice, his now-favorite recipe.  He can do this pretty much on his own, the only son in the family who I trust to fly solo in the kitchen.
J-son serves stroganoff to K-daughter.
Wednesday:  Earlier in the week, I'd asked C-son to skim through our latest edition of Chop-Chop to find a recipe that appealed to him; he chose deviled eggs.  We relaxed health requirements and doubled our cholesterol intake for his dinner.  (Although, come to think of it, many of these meal are high on the oil and fat end of the nutrition scale).  From left to right below, you see watermelon, homemade bread, and lots and lots of deviled eggs.

From least to most fattening: watermelon, sliced bread fresh out of the oven, and deviled eggs.
Thursday:  K-daughter makes lasagne, garlic bread, and broccoli.  Her, also, I trust to reign solo in the kitchen, probably because she's terrified of making mistakes and doesn't quite trust herself.
Broccoli first; then you get to get lasagna!
Friday: For tonight, I'll be making chili soup and bread; our church group is coming over for a pot luck, bringing the rest of dinner themselves.  So I'm not cooking alone tonight, either -- in fact, one or more of the boys have pleaded to be allowed to help me.  (Oh, okay, . . . if you insist!)

I honestly figured, back at the coming of 2012, that I'd still be twisting arms all year to get occasional help in the kitchen.  And sometimes, the arms of my boys do indeed ache after the boys' conversations with their mom.  But not always.  Less-and-less, in fact.  Peer pressure is taking over.

I love (but take no credit for the fact) that the kids are really enjoying this.  For example, on the deviled eggs night, J-son begged C-son to let him help.  The two worked side-by-side, with occasional direction from me.  J-son got to show off that he knows his way around teaspoons and tablespoons, but it was more than just showmanship; cooking good food is really getting to be something the kids all like -- in fact, they're really, really proud of it.  Ready to brag.
My sons do egg-cellent work together!
As am I. 

No comments:

Post a Comment