Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Savoring the Sweet Moments or Why I Cried When My Daughter Cooked Breakfast

The child, whisking
It's not every day your almost 7-year old daughter announces that she wants to make breakfast. By herself. Using the oven. Feeling brave I decided to let her go for it. We had just received a new cookbook (Molly Katzen's excellent Honest Pretzels) and, as she flipped through it deciding what to make, I found myself wondering how we had arrived in this place. When did she get so tall? So independent? So decisive? So... grown up?

For those of you who know me in real life you know my daily struggles (and associated joys) with motherhood. I'm probably more honest than I should be but, hey, it isn't all cuddling, rainbows, kisses and ponies. Raising children is tough. And I only have one. Each day is a new challenge with its own rewards but some days are harder than others and I'm not afraid to admit when I mess up.

One place I've managed to do OK is in the kitchen. The child is a good eater, comfortable in the kitchen and has recently developed a sense of adventure. This is pretty common around age 7 so if you have a picky eater seize the moment and start introducing some new foods, STAT. She wants to taste everything. Make everything. Do everything on her own. And while I'm loathe to have her make a huge mess or hurt herself I know I have to let go and allow her to make mistakes so she can learn from them.

Cooking really is a metaphor for life. You have a plan (the recipe), resources (ingredients/equipment/mother who happens to be a chef) and various opportunities for success or failure. Whatever the outcome hopefully you learn something from it.

What I took away from this experience is that no matter how uncomfortable I might be with watching her spread her wings (Now I'll have to re-clean my freshly cleaned kitchen! Is something burning? How sharp is that knife?!), she needs to fly and I won't always be there to catch her if she falls. But I can teach her how to pick herself up and try again. *sniff*

Giant Baked Pancake Puff
(adapted from Honest Pretzels by Mollie Katzen)
Yields 4-6 servings

1 TBS butter (melted)
4 large eggs
1 1/3 c milk (we used 1% b/c it's how we roll)
1 tsp vanilla extract (almond would also be good)
3 TBS sugar
1 1/2 c unbleached white flour
1/2 tsp salt

  • Preheat oven to 375 F.
  • Lightly grease a 9x13" baking pan with the melted butter.
  • Combine eggs, milk, vanilla and sugar into a bowl that will accommodate all the ingredients.
  • Whisk until smooth and eggs are fully incorporated.
  • Add in flour and salt and whisk until all the flour is incorporated and there are no lumps. Take care to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and place in the oven.
  • Bake for approximately 35 minutes until it is puffy and golden.
  • Cut into pieces and serve with your choice of toppings. We used a sprinkling of powdered sugar and some delicious sliced plums from our CSA. In the fall this is fantastic with some sauteed apples. 
  • Leftovers are great lightly toasted and spread with jam.
Don't forget to sneak a peak at the look of satisfaction on your child's face as s/he eats what s/he made.


Lori Ann LaRocco said...

What a wonderful story! Its true, being a mom has its challenges and rewards. This cooking moment is definitely a high point :) The lessons you learn in life are applied in the kitchen. From patience to expression, cooking is an extention of your soul :)

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