Thursday, March 6, 2008
Learning to cook
Shannon has expressed a growing interest in learning how to cook. So far we have attempted the basics - cookies, brownies and cakes. She loves to chop up vegetables (no more onion tears for me!), in fact she chopped up all the peppers last fall for 6 batches of salsa! Anyway, she is constantly asking me if she can make things. Lately she has been bringing home recipes from school, or achievement days for things that aren't really edible. Such as "rock candy". We tried that last week. It was supposed to crystallize over a period of two weeks and then you could break it up and eat it. Sounded good, but all it did was harden into an ugly purple mess that no one wanted to touch. We threw it out last night. Her next project seemed a little more reasonable - play dough. She wanted to make this yesterday, but I wasn't able to help her because I was either teaching, or feeding and taking care of Shelby. She claimed that she could do it with out my help. I thought, "It's just play dough. How hard could that be?" So I gave her the green light. She went to work... got out a big pan, water, salt (reminder: need to buy more salt at the store today since we are now out), flour, oil, cream of tarter... Oops. Shannon learned a valuable lesson in cooking: Make sure that you have all the ingredients before you start. We tore the cupboards apart looking for cream of tarter. (What is this for anyway?? I have a vague recollection of using it for a pie once... I guess that shows you the extent of my cooking knowledge.) But luck was with us and we found some! That put the smile back on Shannon's face. I helped her at this point in putting in the correct amount of cream of tarter. This is where I noticed the concoction in the pan on the stove. I asked her, "Do you have to heat this?" Blank look. "Shannon, did you read the instructions?" Blink, blink... Uh, oh. Another lesson learned. As I took the recipe from her I scanned through to the baking instructions at the bottom. It read, "Bring water and salt to a boil, let cool then add the remaining ingredients." We looked at all the cold ingredients swimming together in our pan. I couldn't help but think out loud, "What a waste. We don't have anymore salt so we can't make a new batch." Shannon was more optimistic. She was sure that it would still work! She turned the burner on and began to stir. I walked away thinking that I hope it wouldn't harden into plaster and be impossible to clean up. About ten minutes later I heard her holler out to me to come here. I found her kneading a purple mass on the counter. She was beaming! "It worked! It has big icky chunks in it, but it worked!" I was impressed! She continued to knead the purple blob and those chunks disappeared. She proudly packaged it up last night and she has been playing with it all morning!