Monday, December 22, 2014

Junior chefs in the making

A while back our girls informed me that they want to start cooking. It was a "we're 11 now so we want to learn to cook" statement. Since then we've let them help, calling them our sous chefs, when we cooked or baked.

The other day we talked about making risotto. The blond twin said, "I will make it." We talked about the steps, got out all the ingredients and started cooking. The blond twin did a pretty good job. She asked a lot of questions, paid attention to the details and kept the risotto cooking. I thought she'd get bored, but she didn't.

Her only real problem was what I'll call the "messy" factor. She stirred the risotto with all her might. Broth flew around the stove, often hitting the floor. At one point she turned to talk to me with the spoon in her hand. The risotto that was on her spoon managed to make it across the kitchen to the opposite wall. On the one hand, you can say our kitchen is not very big, so it didn't take a lot of effort to hit the opposite wall. On the other hand, it would have been better if she had put the spoon down before twirling around to talk to me.

In the end her risotto was very good. We learned that she likes a lot of garlic with her vegetables. We took some to Grammie, who gave it a rave review.

The brunette twin decided she was going to make dinner as well. She decided to make bar-b-que chicken and tater tots. She had been talking about tater tots for a while. She made a point of buying a bag when she went grocery shopping with Daddy last weekend.

We talked about the steps she needed to take before she started. The first step was to take the cast iron pans I store in the top oven out, put them on the stove top and let the oven warm to 400. I was in the basement when I started smelling smoke. I came upstairs to check on the brunette twin's progress when I hit a smoke cloud. The first thing we did was open some windows. We had to be just a few minutes from having the smoke detectors go off.

As soon as I walked into the kitchen, I knew why smoke filled our house. The brunette twin forgot to take the cast iron pans out of the top oven. The last thing I cooked in the cast iron pans was bacon, so it was warmed up and smoking. Once we cleared the smoke, the brunette twin finished making our tasty dinner.

Some day the girls will be very good cooks. They are interested in how ingredients go together and adventurous with their ideas. It's what keeps me going as I'm cleaning risotto off the wall or turning on fans to clear smoke. I remind myself that the learning process is messy, but the end result is delicious.

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