Saturday, February 5, 2011

Learning the Joy of Cooking: A Child's Discovery

A discovery has been made in this household.  A discovery that has, not surprisingly, been made in the kitchen.  And it's a discovery that I could not be happier about: Michael is learning and liking to cook.

It began with that ice cream.  We made a couple batches together: Winter Wonderland (which we really freakily both named individually in our heads and then realized later that we both had thought of the same name for it) we made with Marshmallow Fluff and crushed candy canes and dyed it blue. A few weeks later we made Luther Love, which was basically the same, but it was dyed hot pink and had white chocolate chips, too.

Recently I did something that I don't do anymore: I bought a carton of ice cream.  Michael was so excited, but in the tasting of it (and it has been months since we've had store-bought ice cream in this house), Michael said, "Ours is better."

So the next time he said he wanted ice cream, I told him that he could make it while I made dinner.  I told him what to do, but I let him do the entire thing himself.  And, with my fingers crossed, I told him that since he was in charge, he could put in what he wanted.  He decided to go with a chocolate base, so I talked him through how to make a chocolate mixture to blend into the cream and milk mixture.  Then he asked what else he could put in.  I told him, whatever he wanted.  What he created was chocolate ice cream with bits of Twix and Milky Way and a handful of chopped peanuts blended in, and he colored it with food dye until it looked like mixed concrete. Seriously.  But it was GOOD.

ANYWAY.  Within the past week, Michael has suddenly gotten really into helping with dinner.  And not stirring-the-pot helping.  I'm talking, I-want-to-do-everything-myself helping.  And it has been a joy teaching him how to cook: how to cut potatoes; how to prepare chicken; how to fry food; how to prepare a salad; how to create a sauce; and how to make ice cream.  What is most wonderful is to see him sit down to dinner and look at the food he has helped make, and watch him eat it, and hear him say, "Everything is really good!"

A love is being born.  A love that is good and right in every way.

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