Cooking with Kids :: Or, a Little Reminder that the Extra Time is Totally Worth It
I need to get my ass back in the kitchen - and while I'm at it, I'm bringing my daughter with me, lest she forget how to crack an egg properly and all that. This is not the easy road, because that consists of Nelle sitting quietly in the living room watching kids' TV while I breeze about the kitchen with a glass of wine in hand, opening jars of passata and boiling linguine. But there are so many great reasons to ditch the easy road, now and then.
Yes, I want to teach her good food values, and spend focused time together. I want to give her tools for life, help her to feel proud, and important, and creative - and cooking can do that. So why aren't we cooking together anymore?
The uncomfortable truth is - it's my fault.
Things get busy, I get absorbed in writing and research and obsessive scrubbing of the kitchen floor. Suddenly, I'm running through lists and revising papers in my head while I chop, slice, peel, shred, mash, stir or wash, because it feels like there's no other time in the day to catch up. And I set my daughter down anywhere besides the kitchen so she won't interfere with my hurried dinner preparations, so she won't slow me down.
But isn't that the point? I'm always trying to figure out ways to slow down. I dream of moving to the country, to a place where I can still get a good coffee but then wander about my garden picking herbs and berries. Stepping out of this perpetual hurriedness I struggle with. And there's the simplest answer in the world right over there in her new school uniform, with that hopeful, aching-to-hang-out smile on her face. She practically has a neon sign above her head, with an arrow flashing down towards her and two words: "Slow. Down."
So we'll get into the kitchen today, do some baking. She'll start sampling tiny cubes of raw sweet potato or carrot peels or finger-dustings of buckwheat flour just because they're there, because how else do you find out about these things? And I'll have to let her experiment, because buckwheat flour on its own isn't something I can describe, and maybe I don't even really remember what it tastes like, either. Maybe I'll have to try it all over again, with her.
How many forgotten flavours, sounds, sights, moments are there out there for us to explore?
And all in an extra 10, 15, 20 minutes in the kitchen.
Consider this Resolution #2.
Happy 2013, happy slowing down,