Friday, January 11, 2013

Cooking with the Kid

Hello everyone! I've missed you so much. I'll spare you the gory details about where I've been, but let's just say it's good to be back in action.  In a nutshell, I moved, got sick, went to the hospital, laid in bed for a long time, got better, had a good time over the holidays, and then got this stupid cold that's been going around that knocks you on your butt for a week.  Oh, the land of the living...
Must. Stay. Here.

I've cooked very little.  I have really missed it.  But, as it was before (and I'm sure it will always be), cooking has brought a few lessons and a tremendous amount of joy.

BBQ Chicken Pot Pie
I've been cooking with a six year old.  Now, if you had told me when I started this that one day, I'd be cooking with a kid next to me, I would have laughed in your face and snorted in your cookies.  But things change. And here we are!

My move was into the basement of a family's house.  I love it! The basement itself is divided into two *huge* rooms, and there's another huge room that has become my closet.  I have a bigger closet than my mom! (I have arrived!)  The kid is six. He's adorable. And smart. And loves to cook and watch the food network.  He's the best roommate a girl could ask for!  I forget he's six sometimes, he talks and reasons like a short adult (not unlike myself).

Gingerbread Cookies
Other than high school babysitting gigs, I've never really had much time alone with kids.  So, I like to have activities planned.  What kind of activities?  The kind that will keep them focused and the kind that they will enjoy.  He likes to cook, I need to cook, so there you go!  How wonderful life is!

I picked him up from school, and we immediately started talking about what we wanted to make for dinner.  He's awesome that way - he gets almost completely giddy discussing it.  We decided on BBQ chicken.  And then got creative with it - let's make it a pot pie!  And then cookies.  It was Christmas time, so we decided on Gingerbread Cookies.

And off we went.  He's amazing in the kitchen.  He helped roll the dough into balls, he advised that the oven was almost done preheating.  He stirred the batter for the cornbread topping of the pie.  If I ever were to open a bakery, he'd be the first person I hired!  We made them a little big, though.  He told me the smaller ones that were the right size were the ones he rolled.  I had to agree.

A hat to keep the hair out
of the cupcakes.
Last Sunday, it was going to be the two of us again.  All the way to church, we discussed baking.  I wanted to make cupcakes for my mom's birthday, and he was more than excited to be a part of it.  We talked about recipes all the way.  We even talked about lunch.  He described a ham and macaroni and cheese that his mom makes (basically mac & cheese with ham cut up) so perfectly.  Even someone who doesn't know how to make mac & cheese could have made it after his description!

We decided to make Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes for my mom.  After church, we went to the grocery and bought all our ingredients.  When we got home, I made lunch and started him on the prep work for the cupcakes.  As you can see in the picture, he put his hat on.  He did this after asking me why I pulled my hair back!  So smart, so intuitive!

He helped with every step of this process.  It's amazing to watch a child do something, especially when he is good at it.  He has no fear.  He just picks up what you tell him to and does it.  It made me think of when I started cooking, how timid I was, and all I could do was pick it up and do it, whether I knew what I was doing or not.  I read and re-read directions on recipes, and continued to do as instructed.  And I learned.  The only difference between him (now) and me (then) is that he doesn't know enough yet to be afraid of screwing up the process.

Here's to that spirit of fearlessness!  Here's to cooking!  And here's to my little helper!

Mom's birthday cupcakes
My mom loved the cupcakes!  She was so excited that he helped make them.
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