Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Someone's in the Kitchen with Dina

...and she's probably fed up with all that infernal banjo strumming!

Some say the kitchen is the heart of the home. It is very true in our home. It's the center of activity. Stuff and people are always coming in and going out. There is the constant processing of groceries, food prep, cleaning, cooking, cleaning and eating. (And cleaning.) And my children are always close to my heart, which means they are always in my kitchen.

Sometimes I love having them in there with me. Sometimes I consider hiring a nanny (just for meal prep). I wouldn't give up cooking. I love it too much. But, alas, I view training them as my job, so they are eagerly invited to be present, welcomed to participate and required to help clean.

Today, I'm making Garlic Soup. Cote and I are a little under the weather. I'm a firm believer in the healing power of garlic and homemade chicken broth so I'm following my friend Mary's advice and finally trying this recipe.

Because he's had years of training, I actually trust John with many food prep activities. Since I was busy helping clean up Cote from another round of regurgitation, I asked John to chop the potatoes. He chopped potatoes and celery and assisted with other activities when I made it back to the kitchen. He's obviously a wonderful help in the kitchen.

Hannah, I have my hopes, will eventually be a major help as well. She always brings a chair over and stands at the counter, involved in everything possible. If she sees me get out garlic, she finds and brings me the garlic press. She offers to stir and pour. Sometimes she stirs and pours despite my admonitions not to. She is always a willing taste-tester.

She's thrilled when she sees stock simmering on the stove. She eats the carrots wilted by hours of simmering as I let the chicken cool for deboning. That girl can debone a chicken almost as fast as me. She puts the bones in the correct bowl, rightly separating the refuse from the valuable meat. Unfortunately, she believes the place for the good chicken is in her mouth. I have to work quickly to stay ahead of her and not lose too much chicken to her "wages".

Tonight, she was working diligently. Suddenly, she straightened her body and looked intensely at me. She said, "Mom, this chicken is having a homebirth." I was never able to discern what exactly caused her to make that connection but I did laugh. It reminds me she is experiencing a lot of life and learning all the time.

About that time, the soup started to boil and I asked John to stir it and turn it down. He asked what temperature I wanted it. I said if it was high, then to turn it down to medium. He quickly complied, noting, "Yeah, high is to get things hot. Medium is to keep it going. And low is just for amateurs."

Despite my frustrations, I am always glad that I have invited them into the heart of the heart-of-my-home, letting them participate rather than simply witness. They make me laugh and I see them learning. And well, they teach me things as well. Cooking with children in the room heats things up and keeps them going. Cooking by oneself, well, that's for amateurs.

1 comment:

JeniferRiddle said...

Your children make *me* laugh. Thank you for inviting us into the heart of your home for a moment.