It's an uncanny sixth sense, I tell ya.
So I decided it was time for my youngest to begin acquiring some important kitchen skills of his own, like the refined art of making a grilled cheese sandwich and the disgusting, neon orange, mass manufactured pasta out of a blue box.
He's a quick learner, that one, and just a few months later asked to help prepare the Thanksgiving meal in Grandma's kitchen. He was immediately put to prep work, and found that he gains some bizarre sense of accomplishment by chopping onions while fighting back tears.
So I was not much surprised when he came to me a few weeks ago asking if he could cook an entire meal start-to-finish. Thrilled to kick back and focus on my apéritif for a change, I conceded. I carefully chose a meal in his wheelhouse that required plenty of chopping, a bit of spice, heavy on the meat but also with some vegetables cooked into the concoction. But a dish we've never had before, so he could call it his own. Call me crazy, but I'm constantly searching for subtle ways to boost my kids' confidence without employing the over used, annoyingly cheery statement, "Good job!"
I think we need to give our kids tasks, whether they are willing participants or not, and let them master things on their own in order to feel their own sense of triumph. We don't need to hover, and we definitely don't need to baby them. There's too much of that crap going on. Let them do something on their own and feel the sense of pride that comes along with it naturally.
Like cooking a kick-assed meal (because seriously, that's what it was) and listening to your family rave about how tasty it is. Not "Wow Jakey, what a good job!"
Ok - off the soapbox...I think I've been reading too many mommy blogs that talk incessantly about touchy feely crap and Seven Steps to Ensure your Child's Happiness. I am just so over it. Oprah quit, people. Time to move on. Miller certainly has.
We began with a lesson from Mom.
We used that phrase once or fifty times while he made the Chimichangas. Uncle John's ears were surely ringing across the country.
Meanwhile, I got down to business of my own. Apéritif time! Obviously, I needed a Grand Margarita given our menu.
My head did not thank me the next morning.
I mixed equal parts of Tequila and Grand Marnier with 1/2 part fresh lime juice in a salt-rimmed glass. Mr. Musky stuck with the standard (code: BORING!) Sapphire and Water, and Jake opted for a diet Ginger Ale.
So naturally, we then listened to the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. Followed by what Kahley wanted, since she'd been sick for four days and we all felt sorry for her. Then she reciprocated by playing Dad's favorite - a little Springsteen.
That's what I love about these kinds of nights. It's just us, but we all want to make each other happy. And playing the music that someone else likes best is a good way to do that.
Not to mention, allowing Mama to join in the cooking. Well, just to make the guac. Since Jake doesn't eat it, he didn't mind me making it for the rest of us.
But don't let it deter you, or your hard working, live-in servant!
I showed Jake how to roll the chimichangas up, but he schooled me on this one. He truly rolled them perfectly, and wasn't bashful about letting me know.
|Mine on the left, Jake's on the right. Clearly he excels at Chimi wrapping.|
They truly were delicious, and everyone gushed about how tasty they were. We will definitely be quarantining him in the kitchen again soon when we all want a fix. I peered in the refrigerator the next day for one at about 4:00, and they were all gone. Apparently, everyone else had the same idea for a mid-afternoon snack.
I loved cooking with Jake. I look forward to doing this for several more years, until he leaves for college. Then I look forward to going to his house for dinner.
"Jakey, will you tell me you love me when you're sixteen?"
"Yes, I will tell you I love you when you're sixteen."
How sweet, that he thought I was aging backwards.
And true to his promise, he still tells me he loves me.