Thursday, July 26, 2007

Home Economics

One of the goals I have made for this year is to teach my children to cook. I am not talking five course dinners or anything, just some basic kitchen skills that will be useful to them.

I know you will be shocked and awed to know that I am not a patient person (ssh...don't tell anybody.) I like things done efficiently and neatly. Especially in my kitchen. Lately, however, I have been feeling that I need to be intentional in teaching them some of the basics of running a home. Even if it means a messier kitchen and longer preparation. I want them to know more than just keeping their room clean and picking up their toys (which they know how to do, but knowing and doing are very, very different, right?) I want them to have a knowledge of good homemaking skills: The proper place setting. The ability to serve good, tasty food. The charm of hospitality. Call me old fashioned, but these are skills that will serve them in the most basic ways and yet are often overlooked in the hustle-bustle, keep-them-busy-until-they-drop society of parenting my generation is living in.

I enjoy being a homemaker. And I have been thinking a lot lately about what my role is as a Mother. I am hoping that my legacy will be one that, many years from now, my sweet Kids will be cooking in their own kitchen with basic skills that they will have learned from me. Not from a cable cooking show or latest kitchen guru, but from the work we did standing side by side in my humble kitchen, when they had to stand on a step stool to turn the oven on.

Monday evening at the dinner table I announced that, since we are finally settled in the new house and school has started, we would be re-implementing the Weekly Chore Chart and they would be enrolling in Mom's Home Economics 101: Cooking.

MHE 101: Cooking would be a class in which they would assist me in the cooking of supper.

The Girl will be assisting in the kitchen on Tuesday and Thursday. The Boy on Monday and Wednesday. Whomever is not cooking will be in charge of setting and clearing the table. Friday there will be no class, cause when I was in college I NEVER scheduled class on Friday's. Their final exam will be sometime next May when they will plan and make an entire meal (of their choice) unassisted. I am a glutton for punishment I'm sure.

The Girl (a.k.a- the Easy Bake Oven Queen) was very excited about this and was planning all sorts of things that she was going to make and announcing them out loud in a French accent. (I am not kidding, this girl has a knack for accents.)

The Boy was not nearly as excited. As a matter of fact he said, and I quote, "Isn't cooking is for women?" and "I don't think I need to know about cooking because in college I can eat at the cafeteria and then I'll just marry a girl who can cook... Like Dad." And then he shoveled in a bite of spaghetti, as if he had just said that he was going to go get a haircut.

Uh. Yeah. He may be only 9, but this boy is quick. A little big for his britches at times, but quick.

This is where the Mister looked at me with a look that was a cross between "Down Girl" and "He's got you there!"

But then he looked to The Boy and said that cooking wasn't only for girls, and that it would be good for him to learn, just in case things don't work out completely to plan. (As a side note, in defense of The Mister, he can cook a few things well. But his repertoire is a tad limited.)

On Tuesday The Girl made grilled chicken, rice and green beans. It was good. A little over-seasoned, but good. I am used to having her in the kitchen with me for baking but cooking, not-so-much. She did well.

Yesterday was a lesson for both The Boy and myself. He didn't want to come to class. As a matter of fact he begged me to let him skip the first class and do a make-up on Friday. But, as you know, I don't teach 101: Cooking on Fridays. In the end I wrangled him into the kitchen for a lesson in making Turkey Taco's. He did a great job. Although teaching him the proper hold of a pairing knife was a lesson in patience. Apparently everything sharp and dangerous must be wielded as if it were a sword or light saber. Teaching the proper slicing and dicing techniques of lettuce and tomato was definitely a bit tense. I should probably invest in a First Aide Kit for the kitchen. While he was grating the cheese he did make some comment about why I didn't buy the cheese that Grannie gets. You know, the already grated cheese. To which I replied that it is the right of every 4th grade boy to learn how people in the old days had to live. It wasn't easy back then, and I had to walk uphill in the 150 degree weather, both ways, without water or shoes, and your Grannie made me do it. And I liked it. But I digress.

The Boy was happy in the end. His meal turned out well and I think he was proud of how he did on his first try. I think he will enjoy cooking if I remain patient. As an incentive I went out to find kids cookbooks at the library to see if there were a few that they could look through and pick out recipes for themselves. Of course they were all checked out. If you have any good ones to recommend you can send the titles my way.

This latest adventure at the La Vida Casa is sure to bring some good blogging fodder. That is, if I still have a finger left to type.

La Vida Dulce


June Cutoff Cash said...

I admire your efforts. I had to learn to cook at age 41. Would have been better to have learned from good old mom.

I'm liking your new look!!

Lara said...