Saturday, April 14, 2012

Cooking with Kids

Pizza yer face!
The other day my son and I were running some errands. As we were walking through a parking lot he takes my hand and tells me, "Mom, when I get bigger, I want to be a chef...like you."

My heart swelled at my darling 6-year-old's misconception of me. I have told my kids numerous times I haven't been a chef in a long time. My last restaurant job was over 10 years ago. I was 8 months pregnant with my first baby and busting my ass doing weekend brunches in Bernal Heights. I still cook for pay but it's a different sort of ball game all together.

Cooking is the one thing I am naturally good at. I cook for fun. I cook to relax. I cook when I'm stressed. I cook when I'm not even hungry. I'm always in my kitchen experimenting and my idea of a shopping spree is filling a shopping cart to the brim at Berkeley Bowl or Rainbow or spending a hefty chunk of change at a quality butcher. So, I guess it's no wonder why my kids see me as 'a chef'.

All of my kids have a fascination with food prep. My oldest daughter is almost 10. She's learning knife skills and she is pretty damn good. My 8 year old daughter is currently learning to use measurements and my 6 year old son is crazy-good at cracking and scrambling eggs.

Friday nights are pizza night over here. I make a big batch of basic pizza dough and split it into small individual pizzas. They each get to press out their own dough and add toppings exactly how they like it. My oldest has a palate that rivals my own-anchovies, pepperoncini and sausage is her usual. My 8 year old daughter and my son stick with basic black olive, mushroom and pepperoni.

It doesn't really matter what they put on the pizzas, or even if they don't eat the eggs they scramble or if they over (or under) measure an ingredient. What really counts is that they enjoy doing it. The love of food and knowledge of cooking is a gift I have the opportunity of passing down to my kids, something they will use for the rest of their lives and that makes me pretty happy. I suspect it makes them pretty happy too.

Making gnudi. Clean up on that one was not nearly as fun as creating them.
Make something, have fun ~99% BitterSweet