Saturday, September 10, 2011

Summer Fun Update: Cooking!

In previous posts, I have reminisced about my excursions and craft projects with my daughters this summer.  In looking back over the past three months, I realized that an amazing number of our activities have revolved around cooking, so I decided to devote an entire post to their kitchen discoveries.

I read about how easy it is to make your own butter on a web site called Ohdeedoh, so it made my "Things To Do" list.
We put heavy cream into these little plastic containers, and made sure the lids were on TIGHT.  Then we danced around the kitchen to music, shaking the containers for as long as we could manage. 

Katy did a pretty good job with hers, but Bayla gave up the effort early, and I ended up shaking a container in each hand.  I don't remember how long we danced and walked and shook around the kitchen--maybe five minutes, maybe ten.  But slowly, I could sense a change in how the cream felt moving around in the container, and the sound was more of a thump. 

I was so excited:  "It's working!  I think it's changing into butter!"  I'm not entirely sure the girls even knew what we were working for.  But when we opened up our containers and saw that the cream was now solid, and when they stirred it around and covered small pieces of bread with it, they got a pretty good kick out of the transformation. 

Katy became an instant butter fan, but Bayla, not so much.
I also wanted to try real bread-making with the girls, because I thought they would enjoy kneading the dough.  This time roles were reversed:  Bayla got into it, and Katy sat back and let her sister get her hands dirty.
I used a recipe I clipped from a magazine, buying yeast and everything, but sadly our bread never changed from the form you see above--no rising, no success.  It went into the trash bin, but Bayla had fun with it anyway. 

The girls would just as soon make muffins from a box of Betty Crocker than worry about making bread from scratch.  At their Grandma's house in Kentucky, they got lots of cooking practice:
The girls work together on a batch of muffins.

Katy tries her hand at Fried Green Tomatoes.
Bayla takes a turn with the Fried Green Tomatoes.
Katy helped make the biscuits and prep the strawberries
for Strawberry Shortcake.

Once they got home, the girls wanted to help me cook all the time.  I have started to realize how much of my dinner preparation involves either chopping (sharp knives!) or working at the stove (hot burners!), which doesn't much lend itself to a toddler helping hand.  But the girls now dish up their own cereal each morning, and pour on the milk, and I've found a couple of occasions to let them help with meals in more substantial ways:
Here, Katy is rolling out the crescent roll dough for my
mom's Beef Bun recipe.

It definitely takes extra effort on my part to find ways to involve the girls in the kitchen when they are only 2 and 3 years old, and heaven knows it takes a lot of extra clean-up.  But when they express such an interest and enthusiasm for something, it is very hard to turn them away. 

I am trying in many different ways to build their independence, and I'm always hoping to help them find their interests and talents.  I am finding that giving them some time with me in the kitchen is great for both of these things!

Do you have memories of helping your mother or grandmother in the kitchen?  Do you think those experiences have shaped how you feel about cooking today (good or bad)?


lee said...

truthfully I dont remember cooking with my mom, but I tried with my daughter to get her involved, but to no avail, but now that she is grown and out of the house, she is always saying she should have learned to cook from me. The girls look like they had a good time, and it great you are getting them involved early

laurie said...

i definitely remember spending lots of time with my mom in the kitchen. she enjoyed cooking and i liked being able to talk to her while we worked. your girls will have great memories, as well, and some good cooking skills as they grow up. such a fun post. thanks for sharing.

Janet said...

My mom was a very good cook but sadly she never taught me anything about it. I breezed through my childhood never having to do any chores or help out with anything. Then adulthood set in and I was lost! To this day, I do not enjoy cooking although I do love to bake.

Your girls will have a lot of good memories of helping out in the kitchen and who knows, maybe one of them will be the next Martha Stewart or Rachel Ray!

Andria said...

Lee, it was the same with me and sewing; my mom offered to teach me when I was much younger, but I always declined. Now, I'm just learning what it's all about, but I wish I had started much earlier.

Laurie, I have those same associations--the kitchen as a place to be with my mom, and talk with her. Made it a positive place to be!

Janet, I don't think I did a lot of the actual cooking myself, but I associated "motherhood" with the kitchen and cooking, so it became a logical place for me to go once I was "making a home" of my own. (And YOU do all of that wonderful canning!!)

Parabolic Muse said...

I love this. This is so heartwarming and the kids look like they are so into it! It's fun how they are different, too. My nephews have always been very different, with hints of sameness. HA!

I remember only the Thanksgivings. Four women and two girls in the kitchen, doing lots of stuff. It is a great memory.