Sometime last year I realized that I’ve failed my kids.
And here’s my dirty little secret.
My kids barely know how to cook.
I’m not sure if it’s because I love to do it so much that I barely give them the opportunity, or if it’s because they are not that interested (maybe a bit of both).
Sure, Charlotte and can be counted on baking with me
and being a really good sport about distributing our efforts later,
but some of the other big items are lost on both my kids — or beyond their reach.
I started to realize that last summer when I left them alone for the better part of a day last summer and they called me in a panic and asked what they should eat. I gave them some options to cook and you’d have thought that I suggested that they practice brain surgery for how overwhelming a task it was for them.
I came home to find empty cereal bowls and cracker crumbs.
I realized then that I’d failed them in not pulling them into the kitchen more often over the years.
And so a while back I set out to teach them a couple dishes.
Like roast chicken.
It’s so easy to prep
and so satisfying to eat.
I showed them that, and we still eat roast chicken almost weekly.
We then tackled some other things, like the basics of some pasta, including a homemade Carbonara.
And a decent macaroni and cheese.
We also made a lot of burritos and egg sandwiches (although heaven forbid I include arugula and avocado on theirs!)…
but since last summer we’ve kind of lost ground here.
I’m still doing 95% of the cooking and the other 5% involves car keys and trips to various take out places.
But two things this past week have reinvigorated my desire to get my kids more proficient and confident in the kitchen.
Oliver had a Health Final Home Assignment: Plan and Make a Complete Dinner for the Family.
So he and I planned a menu together
and he got to work.
I had some great looking strawberries which he washed for a side dish and as part of a salad for David and me.
He prepared the potatoes for baking and then set about getting the pork ready for the grill.
The pork got a very simple treatment: garlic powder, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and a grind of a three pepper blend.
Grilling is such an easy way for kids to learn about finding the proper cooking temperature and David reminded him how to light the grill and helped him figure out how to know when the meat was done.
Oliver loved getting those grill marks and moving things around so that all the meat was cooked properly at roughly the same time.
Charlotte set the table and grabbed some Tabor Bread Spelt bread and olives while Oliver posed with his finished meal.
We sat down to eat and Oliver was pretty pleased with the food, and he said that he’s already heard raves from his teacher who saw the menu and the pics (although honestly this was a ridiculously simple menu with not a lot of cooking).
But it was a start, and it built some confidence and I never left my chair — or my cocktail. Hurray!
Now that I see how convenient it is to have a co-pilot in the kitchen I think I’m going to ask my crew get more involved more often.
Step in, so to speak.
Which brings me to the second reason this week why I have an increased interest in getting them into the kitchen.
Yep, little Miss Klutz does it again.
Yesterday I was diagnosed with two partial Achilles tears, one on each leg with one of them significant and painful enough to necessitate this very attractive looking boot (the other side’s tear is meddlesome, but not significant).
Turns out that dancing straight for 2 1/2 hours (without warming up or stopping) is a bad idea when you’re not regularly on a first-name basis with aerobic-cardio exercise. It was a hell of a lot of fun while I was dancing — but oy! the next few days (I’m just grateful it wasn’t a complete rupture).
So wish me luck — not just with the recovery, but the meal management.
My crew would probably be happy with just sandwiches and pizza this next month but I love my veggies and proteins and, as always, I need my pretty flowers and a presentation that makes me smile.
So we’ve got a ways to go before they present me with this at this every meal.
It’s going to be an interesting couple of weeks.