Thursday, March 17, 2005

Cooking With Kids- Just for Fun

I have article ideas about the educational value of cooking with kids rolling around in my brain. Boosting literacy, reinforcing math, tactile immersion and parent-child bonding all seem like reasonable outcomes that I could include in my article. But I realized today that the main reason to let your kids cook (and mess up) with you is because you can really have a great time of it.

So, today was Alyssa's first true cooking experience. We decided to make chocolate chip cookies from scratch. That's right. I am becoming a frugal housewife and I decided to take a break from the refrigerated cookie dough, convinced that I could make them just as well.

Chase has known about my brilliant plan for about a week and he has been begging me mercilessly to make the "scratch" cookies and today, I ran out of excuses. I know that I said cooking with kids is fun but I did not mention that it is a ton more work for mommy and daddy too (since as you remember from a previous post, my husband is the vacuum man).

So, away we went on our cooking adventure. I assembled all the ingredients and all seemed to go well as Chase added the salt, flour and soda to a large mixing bowl. He whisked that around a bit as I was melting butter in the microwave while holding Alyssa as she became more and more curious about what was happening.

I sat down with Alyssa on my lap as Chase started cracking the eggs. Chase has been helping me cook and cracking eggs since he was about 2 so he is pretty good at it usually. (Salmonella, I know. I have him wash his hands afterwards).Today, though, half of the eggshell ended up in the bowl and he did not see it for some reason. As I leaned over to help him out Alyssa started stirring up the flour mixture with her hands. Eggshell was removed from bowl but I had not noticed that Alyssa was eating the flour mixture. I decide to let her use the whisk instead of her hand for fooling around with the flour mixture. What a mistake! Flour started flying everywhere and each time I tried to grab the wire whisk away from her, she would fling it again, wasting my precious flour mixture!

Well, finally, there was enough flour coating the kitchen table that she started to have fun with that and she calmed down. I looked up at Chase only to see him putting a fistful-and I do mean an entire fistful!- of brown sugar in his mouth. "What on earth are you doing? Don't you know that eating so much sugar like that will make you sick?" "Okay then, can I open up the bag of chocolate chips and eat those instead or will those make me sick too?"

I could not quite focus my brain to figure out the answer to Chase's question as my mind was starting to go and I had to try to remember where I was in the recipe and what I still needed to add.

"Okay, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and then the chips."

I barely got the bag of chips open before my two chocoholics were clamoring for the bag and chips were flying all over the table. Before I could say "choking hazard" Alyssa already had 2 of the dark brown morsels in her chubby cheeks and Chase again had a fistful of sweet stuff he was shoving into his mouth.

"Alright, mister, that's it for you. Just get away from this table now." So much for my sternness as Chase went to the sink with the bowl that had the discarded eggshells in it, added some of the mounds of flour that were still on the table and then ran some water from the faucet to the mixture and called it his recipe.

By this time, I could not even pay attention to Chase anymore. I just needed to end this "fun" and get the cookies into the oven. Once the cookies were in and I took a deep breath, I realized how cute Alyssa looked holding the whisk with flour all over her entire face and body.

Sam came and took some adorable pictures.

I do love being a mom.

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