Friday, June 17, 2016


One of my goals for this summer was to have each kid help me with supper on a regular basis.

Okay, so my original goal went something like this:

Have one of the kids help make supper
every night
one time a week per kid
at some point during the summer, hopefully with some degree of frequency, but let's be realistic, here:  I'll be lucky to have each kid do it once a month.

While I want each of our children to leave this house more or less able to cook without poisoning themselves and any loved ones they may have (side note:  For each of our children, these future loved ones will, according to them, all look very different.  Atticus is very clear that he will be married one day; Caedmon seems to waffle between remaining at home forever over my dead body and living perhaps on his own, perhaps not, as long as gets to go out and do construction work every day, and Adelaide is already naming the many cats she plans on surrounding herself with.  Any which way, I am determined that our children will be capable of making a meal for these companions.), I'm also faced with the fact that any day that our children are "helping" me in the kitchen is a day that can contain little else in it.  The prep work that goes into having our children cook is, currently, enormous.  This is partly because I refuse to cook the recipes found in most "kids cookbooks" because I have a sensitive gag reflex, and partly because if it's mostly me cooking and them doing tiny jobs, I can't seem to hold their interest.  They want to do everything, and this is incredibly time-consuming, but I get it; I don't much care for being patronized, either.

Considering all this, I started our Summer of Cooking Together and Hopefully Not Hating Each Other by the Time It's All Over (SoCTaHNHEObtTIAO for... short?) yesterday with Adelaide.  We had little going on in terms of leaving the house, and as Adelaide is the oldest and most capable of our children, I knew it made it more likely that I would want to stick with this plan for any length of time.  I was afraid if I started with one of the boys the day would end with multiple people not speaking to each other and me with a new tattoo reading something like Chef Boyardee 4 Life or maybe a heart around some ramen noodles.

As it turns out, I am a genius.  Not this kind:

But this kind:

Adelaide did 99% of, well, everything.  She made the meatballs, and the breadcrumbs that go in the meatballs, even though massaging raw beef is not her favorite thing.

She baked shortcakes, and chopped strawberries, and made whipped cream.
Checking for soft peaks, because that is a thing she knows how to do!
What was my 1%?  Dicing an onion to go into the meatballs, because we both agreed that we wanted to eat that night, not two days from now.  Onions are Adelaide's nemesis:  I once saw her take one full hour to finely dice an onion.  We were both in fume- and emotionally-fueled tears by the time she was done. 

When I wasn't spending two minutes chopping, I was sewing new pillow cases for some ugly outdoor pillows I found at a garage sale a full year ago, something I've been meaning to do since last summer.  As it turns out, when I delegate this whole making-supper nonsense to others, I get to do all kinds of fun things!
Velvet with a seventies-shade of orange with fraying sides.  Worth all 25 pennies I paid, because I knew that stripes fix all manner of sins.
Especially when the fabric costs you under $2 a yard.  I've only been eyeing that fabric for a year, pretty much since I purchased the garage sale pillows.  Good things come to those who wait forever for the deep-discount sales.

Perhaps the best part, however, was how tired Adelaide was by the time she was dishing up food onto everyone's plates, not just because I am a cruel mother who delights in the fatigue of her children (although I am that, from time to time), but because she remarked to her father, 

"I am going to be very angry if I went to all this work and anyone here doesn't like it."

Bold, large print, because hallelujah, our children are capable of learning important life lessons.

Welcome to my skin suit, Adelaide.  I hope you find it to your liking.

Look at that- I'm able to ruin even the likes of Harper Lee.  

1 comment:

  1. Yes. You are the most wonderful parent ever, to embark on the Cooking With Children path.

    When I got to the fifth visual depiction in this post, my jaw dropped and I wondered how you channeled Martha Stewart to get that pattern onto the top of your homemade loaf of bread. I was very relieved to discover that it was actually a pillow.

    I think the first few times I cooked with my kids I did have to leave the kitchen (or I made the kid leave) so that we wouldn't hate each other. It's hard for me to give up CONTROL in the kitchen.


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