Sunday, January 30, 2011

Kitchen Experiments

I have some great memories as a kid of concocting food in the kitchen. I'm not sure where my mom was at the time, although I do know that she approved, but I remember mixing all kinds of ingredients together and feeding them to my little sister. Most of it I think was edible, all of it was fun, and I have always thought fondly of those early kitchen experiments as the beginning of my love of cooking and as one of the primary reasons for my comfort and freedom with all things culinary. 

My son is nearing 7 years old, and he has been cooking with me in our home kitchen since he could stand up. Usually he lends a hand with some baking on a weekend morning, challah dough for shabbat, peeling carrots for a snack or some other small tasks here and there. Recently however he has started asking for little bits of ingredients or a small portion of a meal we are preparing to make an "experiment" of his own. On one occasion he took a ball of pie dough scraps, rolled them in a ball, stuffed with a few chocolate chips and topped with sprinkles and baked it in a lovely silver muffin paper. Another experiment was creating some sushi rolls from a handful of rice left in the rice cooker, a carrot and the last piece of nori. And yet another was tofu marinated with orange zest, sesame oil, salt, garlic powder, and OJ, seared until brown. I don't know that he particularly loved eating any of these food experiments nearly as much as he enjoyed making them, but the pride that he displayed in the process and the final creation were fabulous, and I can't help but feel that I am nurturing a very healthy love of cooking for at at least one more generation.

 Marinated and seared tofu:
The Proud boy with his creation:
Carrot sushi roll:

 Pie dough creation and pie:
A few nights ago I managed to get the two kids to lend a hand in making dinner. My son peeled and chopped carrots and potatoes, and my daughter (nearly 3) cut celery and potatoes with a fairly sharp butter knife. Lending a hand with the cooking certainly got them more excited about dinner and I got to be with them rather than trying to occupy them in the other room so I could cook. Please forgive the quality of these pictures. I don't have good lighting for evening photography, but just couldn't resist posting this. Happy cooking and eating!

Any luck cooking with kids? please share!

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