One of the things I love to do is cook. I trained as a chef many moons ago, despite not directly taking it up as a career path – fast food was much better hours and money! I can spend hours in the kitchen creating, when the time allows, which these days isn’t to oftem.
I try to encourage the boys to help when ever it is practical too. They are both dab hands at peeling and chopping carrots and potatoes, and with instruction are happy to try doing other stuff. When making cakes, they love to sit on the work surface and be in control of the speed dial on the mixer. I am never sure if helping to make cakes is actually something they are in to. They are always keen to help, that is undeniable, but I think it is more about being the one that gets to lick the bowl!
Over the last few years, I have made copious amounts of play dough and salt dough. It is great fun to see them create master pieces that we either bake to keep or squish up until all the time and effort of making different colours has resulted in just a big grey blob. The boys love it. Lets face it, I love it! There is however a time to end the play. It can go no further. I therefore decided it would be far more fun if they boys were making something that had a true end product. Bread rolls!
I make a batch of plain bread dough, nothing fancy, but soft enough that it wont object to all the extra flour that the boys will dredge into it! I then put a pile of different shaped cookie cutters out, and the boys go for it. It is great to see their imaginations go wild, as they start with rolling and cutting, and then move on to moulding shapes from their own minds. The great thing is that by the time they have finished with the shaping, the first made ones are usually ready to go into the oven. The ten minutes they take to cook is perfect cleaning up time – there is probably enough flour on the floor, the table and the boys to make another batch of dough! By the time we are tidy, I have two boys who you would think have never been fed hovering around the oven.
To see their faces as they choose their favourite shapes to put by for Daddy (we usually do this when he’s at work) and then they tuck in! If I ate bread fresh from the oven, I would probably have intergestion for a week, but they love it. Something you have put time, effort and love into always tastes better!
Today they decided they wanted to make pizza for lunch, so I made the dough, and then they made pizza bites. They took turns to roll out the dough and cut small circles which we flattened, and filled with a variety of fillings – cheese, ham, corn, pepperoni, garlic, all in various combinations. We had to do a map of the tray so we knew which were which! They were delicious! I will definitely be getting my two mini pizziollas to try that again!
It is really worth experimenting with the things we do with the kids as a good game can always be made more interesting with a little extra imagination.