My little chef isn’t a rat that pulls my hair like in the movie Ratatoullie – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0382932/ – one of Disney great films in my opinion, but my little is chef is D.
I have always encouraged the boys to be involved in the household, and while they seem to be allergic to tidying up, they have both always enjoyed helping in the kitchen. When they were younger, I often had one very upset little boy, because it was the other ones turn to be head helper! They learned to chop potatoes and carrots quite early on and while then they were cut in what can only be described as the rustic style, they are these days more uniform in size and shape. They soon moved on to the peeler, and with supervision and instruction of the potential hazards, mastered it without injury to themselves. I am a great believer of a sharp knife is safe than a blunt knife because you need less pressure with it, and so I have shown the boys basic knife skills. They know they don’t go into the knife drawer, but are allowed access to a blade when they are working supervised. We also have had many play afternoons where we have made cakes, and decorated them. I even used to make bread dough instead of play dough for them when they were smaller, so they would enjoy making the shapes before getting them baked, and of course eating them!!! I think life skills like knowing your way around the kitchen are really important.
As most people know, D wants to be a full-time YouTuber. We have happily encouraged his ambition with helping him to record his vlog – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClzofxrL2x3aBvkvbK9jQ3w He is convinced he will make his fortune this way, and I hope he does so as to keep me in the life of luxury I would like to become accustomed! While we are fully supportive of this dream he has, we have also tried to be honest with him about how few people do really make it big. I think it is important for him to understand there is a life outside of the computer.
The reason I seemed to go off at a tangent then was to bring us to a conversation D had with his Dad the other day. He told his Dad that if he didn’t make it as a YouTuber, then he thinks he would like to become a chef. A job that is both needed and worthwhile. One of the reasons I went into catering was because I thought it would be an industry that was always needed as people always want to eat!
I think because of D’s size, he has always been made aware of what is in food. While I don’t want him to be obsessed with what he eats to the point it causes him problems as it did me, I want him to understand what certain things do to his body. Very often when eating things, he will ask what is in the food, and he isn’t meaning what meat or veg, but he wants to know the nutritional content and what it is doing for his body – some meals can be quite difficult as it is being so analysed the enjoyment is lost along the way! I do think this awareness of food has probably sparked his interest.
On a Sunday mornings, the boys have Daddy time – video games etc, which is great at I get that extra cup of coffee. It means we usually have brunch. D has become a dab hand at making his own scrambled eggs in the microwave. He is so good at doing it that he has been known to tell his Dad off if he isn’t doing it correctly! He has then moved on to making fried egg – I have a wonderful non-stick frying pan which makes it easier. He is always so proud of himself when he eats what he had made.
Yesterday, Hubby and I went out to lunch, and so for tea, I was just going to do something for the boys and Old Person. D asked if he could do the cooking. I said yes, and so he pulled out a couple of cookbooks to look at. He got a little overwhelmed by the choice and ideas he was seeing, so I suggested he spent a little while looking in the cupboards to see if anything gave him inspiration. I left him to it, as I felt he needed space to get his head in the right place. When I went back, he had out pasta, tomato sauce, a tin of sweetcorn, roast chicken – leftovers, and a bag of crisps. I asked him to talk me through what he was going to do with it, and what he described sounded good. He cooked the pasta, and mixed in the tomato sauce, and corn. He then chopped the chicken, and stirred it through. He then went all cheffy on me, and tasted it before seasoning it with salt, pepper, and lots of garlic puree – he adores garlic, so hope he learns to carry mints before he gets a proper girlfriend. He then split this between the bowls. It smelled delicious. What came next was a spark of genius as he crushed the bag of crisps and sprinkled them over the top – to add texture he told me! It was amazing to see that this all came from his head.
M was called to the table, and looked at the bowl with suspicion as he does to all food. He was told what it was, and so he poked at it before tasting. It was only at this point did we tell him it was a creation of his brothers. He became flustered and told him that he could not think of enough nice things to say as it was totally yummy! He then told me that D would be cooking that again for him, and I much write the recipe in my book – I have a notebook I write down recipes I find in various places that I like. He then went on to clear his bowl – again something we often have to push for. D’s pride was obvious. It wasn’t just that he had made something he was enjoying, but something M was full of praise for – I think that meant more to him than if it was coming from either Hubby or myself. He has asked if he can cook again tonight, I have suggested he maybe think of the sort of things he might like to make so I have the ingredients in. At this point M said could I add bacon to the shopping list as he was going to cook at the weekend. If given the chance M would live of bacon so it is good he knows how to cook it!
I am pleased both my boys want to know the way around a kitchen because it is one of those life skills that the earlier they learn it, the more likely they wont starve if they go off to university.
Watch out in the future for The Super Epic chef!