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Our kids and cooking


Nick
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Earlier today I fired off an email to my son (28, single, car mechanic - oops, auto technician, good man) and, among other things, asked if he'd been doing any cooking. His reply got me to thinking about what might be happening with everyone else's kids. Here's Tyler's reply -

"As for cooking, nothing super special. I have started trying cooking rice noodles instead of flour made pasta. Its different, will take some more practice, but they are really good when they come out right. Friend of mine is dating a girl from Thailand, so when we go out, we go out to Thai food places, thats how I found out about the rice noodles. Figured they are better than the flour ones. Well right now I am making a steak and some rice pilaf and carrots. I am doing a garlic/butter/Italian herb deal for the steak, cook it in the frying pan for a little while like that and then put the steak on the grill. Talk to you later"

Kids are great. :smile:

Edit: I just remembered that there are probably a number of 28 year olds here who are well-advanced in their culinary careers and may look down their noses at this. Sorry if I've offended you with such trivial meanderings.

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My daughter, Diana (at age 12), is fairly accomplished in the kitchen. She is not afraid to pull out a cookbook and tackle just about anything, and is not afraid to make substitutions. Nor is she afraid to take a stab at something she has eaten in a restaurant or a friend's house.

I think what I am most proud of is her ability to look in the fridge, freezer and cupboards and whether I have just been to the grocery or we are scraping the bottom of the shelves, she can see a meal. I know I posted in a thread about our greatest accomplishments about a meal she made for our anniversary.

And, just a week or two ago, she helped me (actually, she did 90% of the work) stock the freezer in preparation for our kitchen-less period (remodeling). She made stock, pasta casseroles, cookie dough, etc., browned ground chuck and froze it for crock-pot chili, made refried beans, etc. With the exception of the cheese for pasta casseroles and ground chuck, she scrounged everything else from fridge, cupboard and freezer. All at age 12!

She really got going on this when I was working outside the home. She and I had precious little time together, and after we'd gotten the two little ones in bed, she and I would do as much as we could to prep dinner for the next night. It was our time together, and I sought her input as much as possible, and pretty soon she started coming up with ideas. I'll never forget going to turn her reading light off one night. She had fallen asleep with Marcella Hazan.

Peter, at age 6, is starting to help a lot more in the kitchen. He rolls out a respectable pie crust, whips up mean scrambled eggs, etc.

Start them early with helping in the kitchen, and expose them to a wide variety of food at a very early age. My kids were eating table food (and not modified for kid taste, except probably a little less hot pepper spice) from the time they were about 6 months old. I maintain that everyone should know how to cook, type and sew on a button.

Yes, Nick, kids are great.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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  • 1 month later...

I went up a few minutes ago to turn Diana's (she's 12) night light off, and she had fallen asleep reading Michael Field's Cooking School! She has stuck several post-it notes on different pages, so I think she's reading this like a novel. This is exciting.

She's in charge of dinner on Saturday nights. I'll report back.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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My daughter's a second year law student at Kansas University, and on law review, so she's got precious little time to whip up a gourmet meal. Some nights she makes "ghetto mac"(mac and cheese with hot dogs), other nights it's pizza margaretta or grilled chicken with pesto. She stocked her freezer (preparing for finals) with bierocks (German pocket sandwich - she made the yeast bread from scratch). Kids never stop surprising you.

Yes, they are great (but I'm glad I stopped at 2!!!)

I'm sure it's all that good home training they got from us super-duper parents.

Stop Family Violence

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For dinner tonight, Diana made sauteed chicken with shallots and artichokes from Michael Field's Cooking School. She figured out (on her own, from looking at Marcella Hazan), how to take care of the artichokes. My dad had taughter, a year or so ago, how to cut up a chicken properly. She served it with green beans and boiled new potatoes (Heidi's favorite).

I'm so pleased that she can do all of this by herself, outside of having me take her to the markets. She knows that we will get the best chicken (raised by the Amish) and artichokes at Kowalskis, and knows that the best (and cheapest -- $.79/lb!) shallots come from the asian supermarket. She knows how to sharpen the paring knife. She knows that shallots, onions, and leeks, although from the same basic family, all taste different.

It was a lovely dinner. Peter (7) sort of cleaned up.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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  • 1 month later...
Angel - That's something else. Twelve years old reading Michael Field, knowing where to get the best stuff, sharpening knives.... You've got a future chef on your hands. Dynamite! Keep us posted.

So, Diana is in 6th grade -- middle school. Every six weeks, they switch core subjects -- math/science and engligh/social studies. Throughout the school year, they have the "extras" -- art, gym, "life skills" (what we used to call home ec -- learning to sew on buttons, how to use tools, cook, etc). Anyway, the students have the opportunity twice a year to earn beaucoup extra credit if they are willing to make an interdisciplinary presentation to their class.

Diana loves her new "cooking" book -- Complete Techniquest by Pepin, and is determined to work this into an extra credit presentation. The problem is what to do? Bringing a knife to school is a not permitted, so there goes garnishes, or teaching proper knife techniques.

She settled on mayonnaise. She is clever. The night before, we assemble the ingreidents. We boil a mess of eggs. In her presentation, she states that while this book might not be considered literature, there are stories, the social studies can come from the history of the various dishes, the science from the whole area of emulsifying (she talked about hollandaise, beure blanc, etc.; ration of eggs to fat -- math), then demonstrated how to make mayonnaise. She tasted (using a new popsicle stick. Adds a little something. Tastes again, on a new popsicle stick. When one of the students asked why a new popsicle stick, she tells them to keep her spit out of the mayo (more science). So, now you ask, just why did we boil eggs? Why, deviled eggs, naturally. After the mayo is complete, she mixes it with the pre-seived eggs yokes, and uses her pastry bags (three, each with a different tip) to show how they can be filled to give different looks. She even had capers and chopped parsley to show different garnishes (latter two items for art). She felt she was lacking in the phy ed area, so she mentioned that as mayo is high fat, one would be wise to augment with fresh veggies, grains, etc. to ensure a balanced diet.

Her "main" teacher called to tell me that this was without a doubt the most engaging presentation they've had. There wasn't a student "wandering." There was no when will this be over eye-rolling.

And, the teacher said, best of all, were deviled eggs.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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A couple of days ago I gave my 2 year old a snack of peeled edamame (green soybeans) in a small bowl.

I left the room to attend to the laundry and when I came back he was squeezing a bottle of Hershey's chocolate syrup over them. I couldn't help but laugh when he took his first bite. There was no second bite!

I have no idea what possesed him to do that.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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A couple of days ago I gave my 2 year old a snack of peeled edamame (green soybeans) in a small bowl.

I left the room to attend to the laundry and when I came back he was squeezing a bottle of Hershey's chocolate syrup over them. I couldn't help but laugh when he took his first bite. There was no second bite!

I have no idea what possesed him to do that.

That reminds me of one of my first food-related memories. I was about three years old, and I had a bowl of rice and a bowl of miso soup in front of me. I thought, "I like them both, so if I combine them it would be awesome!" I dumped the rice into the miso soup, and it indeed was awesome. Emboldened, several days later I poured orange soda into my bowl of rice. Gack. Maybe that's the culinary logic that your two-year-old was following??? :smile:

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A couple of days ago I gave my 2 year old a snack of peeled edamame (green soybeans) in a small bowl.

I left the room to attend to the laundry and when I came back he was squeezing a bottle of Hershey's chocolate syrup over them. I couldn't help but laugh when he took his first bite. There was no second bite!

I have no idea what possesed him to do that.

That reminds me of one of my first food-related memories. I was about three years old, and I had a bowl of rice and a bowl of miso soup in front of me. I thought, "I like them both, so if I combine them it would be awesome!" I dumped the rice into the miso soup, and it indeed was awesome. Emboldened, several days later I poured orange soda into my bowl of rice. Gack. Maybe that's the culinary logic that your two-year-old was following??? :smile:

most likely!

His sisters had taught him a little while ago how to make chocolate milk.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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  • 2 months later...

Peter (7) is home sick today. He determined that we need to make chicken soup. So, we got out the bag of bones, added a few spare chicken legs which I'd had the butcher chop into hunks. We added some onion and celery. It's simmering away.

He, without prompting, said that "when it tastes nice and tasty", we should pour it carefully through one of those things with the holes in it to get out all of the yucky stuff.

He has gone through the fridge, and determined that when the "chicken juice" is clear, we should tear up the chicken meat and add it back in, and also add in the two lone carrots, the handful of tomatillos, some of that green stuff that is limey (cilantro), and if it needs more stuff, there are some green beans and some potatos and maybe I should take those long wide peppers (they are Anaheims) and do the black and bubbly thing and we can scrape the black off and chop them up, because as he said "I think if it's hot spicy, it will make my nose run and I will feel better."

Another budding chef in our household!

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I thought of your kids, Snowangel, when I read what a new poster, R.G. Diamond, said about his 7 year-old:

We are a couple with a kid who can be brought, or left with the other family accompanying us, depending on the hauteur of the place. However, know that our 7 year old is a major food fan, contemptuous of MacDonald's, wants to be a chef when he grows up, etc. When I smuggled a white truffle home from Piemonte in my suitcase, whipped it out and started to shave it over his pasta, little Tom said, "This is the happiest day of my LIFE."

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What a great thread! Reading these posts brings back a lot of memories because I had some of the same experiences with my kids.

My girl and boy are 33 and 30 respectively. Both are still single. Great foodies. The boy has always been into cooking. The girl is just now getting interested and is into cooking for friends. Even at this late date I get a real kick out of the frantic phone call... "What is this Texas Caviar missing, Mom? It just doesn't taste right." Some of our best conversations have been in the kitchen. Keep it up guys! It continues to pay off.

Some of the most fun I have these days is writing up the family favorite recipes for them to keep and share. Anybody got any good ideas for a nifty way to print and bind them?

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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In this day and age, we are dealing with electrons. That bothers me. Like you, I have some annotated and written recipes from my mom and dad that I treasure. How do you treasure electrons?

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Here's Tyler's reply -

"As for cooking, nothing super special. I have started trying cooking rice noodles instead of flour made pasta. Its different, will take some more practice, but they are really good when they come out right. Friend of mine is dating a girl from Thailand, so when we go out, we go out to Thai food places, thats how I found out about the rice noodles. Figured they are better than the flour ones.

I wonder what caused him to believe rice noodles are better than flour made pasta? That's the kind of change that makes the General (General Mills, to you, private!) very uncomfortable.

There are some extraordinary food dynamics underway with various generational cohorts...

Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

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There are pre-printed "books", (I think Current carries some) that you can write your own recipes in. I got one for each of my kids. Now, if I could just find time to write them down.....

Stop Family Violence

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There are pre-printed "books", (I think Current carries some) that you can write your own recipes in. I got one for each of my kids. Now, if I could just find time to write them down.....

Hallmark has loose-leaf books, and filler pages that are pre-formatted.

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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Diana (12) uses a three-ring binder. We got some archival quality plastic "pouch" pages (they may be called sheet protectors?) -- some are just one 8.5x11 pouch, some have four smaller pouches on each page. Advantage is that she can remove a page, and it's easy to clean when she's done cooking, so the recipes themselves stay nice.

She's more organized than me, so she has dividers with some different categories so she can find what she wants. She puts "recipes I want to try" into the pouch thingie inside the front cover.

Peter wants his own binder now.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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What a great thread! Reading these posts brings back a lot of memories because I had some of the same experiences with my kids.

Some of the most fun I have these days is writing up the family favorite recipes for them to keep and share. Anybody got any good ideas for a nifty way to print and bind them?

Do you write them out by hand, or on the computer? I recently compiled all my mother's recipes from cards and clippings on Master Cook for her. I printed them out on full pages (2-3 recipes per page) and mounted them in "photo-album" style recipes books (the pages are sticky with a plastic covering that you peel back to mount the recipes). It turned out quite nice. I included extra pages, so she can add recipes as she wishes.

The nice thing about that style book is that you can mount any size card, clipping or printed page. The books I used came with divider pages with pockets in them for extra clippings, notes, etc. I work at Sur La Table, so that's where I got them, but I'm sure they're availabe elsewhere.

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  • 4 weeks later...

My 7 year old who won't even look at the kitchen has recently been making onigiri (rice balls) for herself and her siblings every morning for breakfast.

My 2 year old who seems to have the biggest passion for cooking, decided to take matters into his own hands today. For the past two days he has been screaming for ice cream and this morning again the first thing he does when he wakes up is go to the refrigerator and ask for ice cream. An hour or so later, my eldest, Mia, comes over to me and says "Mommy, what is Hide (2 year old) eating?" I rush into the living room and see Hide about to put a spponful of some white substance into his mouth! :biggrin: Closely inspection reveals that my little darling had filled up his bowl with an entire tube of Desitin (diaper rash cream)!

I think I will go shopping later and get some ice cream! :biggrin:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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eep. :blink: I assume desitin is non-toxic!

Emma (almost 4) helped bake Ian's birthday cake this weekend. She helped weigh the ingredients, and put things into the bowl for me - and did a great job. I may let her start scrambling eggs soon. She already makes a mean salad and shakes the dressing like a pro. :smile:

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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For the next few weeks, Heidi and Peter have swimming lessons at 6:00 pm Mondays and Wednesdays. So, for these few weeks, Diana is in charge of preparing dinner those two nights, and timing it to be on the table at 7:15 pm.

She is to come up with menus, and let me know what I need to have on hand for these meals.

Last night, she made "tacos" -- leftover carnitas, corn tortillas, and she made embellished rice and salsa. The avocados at the grocery were not acceptable, so that traditional accompaniment was missing.

:rolleyes::rolleyes:

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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