It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Mark’s been cooking with the girls for years. As soon as they took an interest and was old enough to stir a bowl of batter or de-stem a sprig of herbs, they’ve been sitting on barstools at the kitchen counter watching and learning how to cook. It’s nerve-racking the first time you let your child handle a knife on their own, but it is a culinary milestone when it happens.
When I was regularly broadcasting live video on Periscope this past year, we’d sometimes do these “cooking with kids” videos where the girls would assist Mark on a cooking show style broadcast. I only reference this because it wasn’t long ago that the kids were still doing simple kitchen tasks like stirring the batter and assembling toppings for pizza.
But one day this summer, the girls started cooking entirely on their own, unassisted, and it did feel like it literally happened overnight. It started with pancakes. One morning I woke up to a mess in the kitchen and a stack of pancakes piled on a plate. The pancakes were fluffy with the right amount of crisp around the edges – well worth the pile of dirty bowls in the sink and batter spills on the counter. They then moved onto scones, and can I say that their scones were amazingly good? They even made their own buttermilk when they realized that the recipe called for it, but there was none in the fridge. Then Miss C started baking muffins. I remember snapping a photo of the muffins still in the pan and sending them to Mark because the tops of her muffins rose so high and round, something that Mark’s muffins don’t normally do. One of her baking experiments were honey muffins. Her utter confusion over where the spoonful of honey that she dropped in the middle of the batter went as she ate through her muffin reminded me that she was still only 9 (she was expecting it to be oozing in the middle, like a jelly donut).
One Sunday, Mia decided that she was going to make dinner. I should have written down the dish because I can’t recall what she made, but I also didn’t know that this was going to be a weekly occurrence. Soups, stir-fries, pasta dishes and baked ziti are some of the dinners that she’s made over the past few months. This past Sunday it was this mushroom barley soup, which was hearty, thick and rich with flavor. She started developing the skills last year of combining and mixing flavors by making salad dressing, something Mark said he did when he was a kid as well. It shows in her cooking because her food is thoughtfully seasoned. We thought that Sunday dinners would just be a summer thing, as it partially grew out of boredom and cooking was something that was fun for her to do, but she’s insisted that she would continue even with school starting. So we have a ritual now: she’ll look through cookbooks Sunday morning and start a list. We’ll then go to the grocery store and the farmer’s market to shop for ingredients. At 5pm, she starts to cook so that dinner’s ready by the time Mark walks in the door from working Sunday markets.
Sometimes I forget how young the girls were when I started this blog. They were babies and toddlers. I see a lot of babies on my Instagram feed these days and think to myself that I can vaguely remember those times…but it’s fuzzy at best. I’ve been so past the baby stage for so long that I almost can’t relate anymore. We’ve definitely moved on to more complex challenges of parenting beyond napping woes (subjective and all relative, of course). I never dreamed that I’d have this blog long enough that I’d be posting photos of food made by the girls.