Helpers in the Kitchen

I love to cook.  I’m not sure I realized how much I loved to cook until the natural demands of newborns and toddlers slowly took away my ability to cook without urgency and stress.  I don't mind cooking for the family, but it is a special treat when we put the kids down and I can take my time cooking for just the hubbs and I.  Makes for a late dinner, but worth it!  And when I’m really organized, on Sunday I can head to the store to get the week’s groceries for that next week’s dinners, I love to pour a glass of wine after the girls are down and start doing the chopping/prepping for the week.  Hopefully with hubbs at the counter hanging with me, even if it is on his computer.  

And I love letting the girls help me cook.

Aaaah.  Why can’t that be as true as 

it was easy to type.  

Truth is I struggle.  Big time, with letting the girls help.  And it is something I am trying to get better at.  

I could sit and try to dissect WHY I’m not good at it (not patient enough, not good with unnecessary messes), but the truth that is more important than the WHY is that I really need to let them feel enjoyment from cooking like I do.  

So it was Friday.  I got home from work around 2:30, having had run to the store to get groceries on my way home.  Rich was having his junior riders J and C come over for dinner.  I figured we’d have one, maybe two other guests, which turned into four other guests.  So we essentially had 7 men (okay, 2 teenagers but in terms of ability to take food in, they are men) over for dinner.  I would have made more if I had known.  But it was all good.

I am a super fan of Ina Garten.  SUPER FAN.  99% of what I make of hers is a hit.  Consistently.  Her brownies and her mac and cheese are winners every time.  They make me look good and they taste fantastic.  

Rich was busy sorting out the team gear for the boys, and so I needed to get started on cooking.  And this time, I was going to make a conscious effort to let the girls help.  Despite the stress rising in my chest, I told myself to calm down and let them help.  I didn’t get to tell them they could help before Maycee came in the kitchen and asked if she could help.  This time I said “yes”. I set some rules for safety and for my sanity (go wash your hands; don’t keep asking if you can do this or that or if it’s your turn, I will give each of you plenty to do).  





I would actually say it was pretty fun. Something I need to do more.  They got to taste the gruyere cheese, compare it to how it smells (nutty taste vs butt-crack smell, pardon my Swiss); they tasted the extra sharp cheddar, they each had a chocolate chip and showed restraint in not asking for more!  They stirred.  They poured.  They did beg to help next, even if they just had a turn, but I found if I didn’t spend so much time talking about who was next and who wasn’t next, and just put in the hands of the person whose turn it was the item that was next, that they got the hint.  

And it worked in good timing, too, because just as I was ready not to need their help anymore, Rich came in to tell them to hang out in the garage with him.  They love to do that as much as they love to cook.  Actually, probably more because they don’t have a control-crazed head cook bearing down on their every move.  

And as I looked out my kitchen window, washing dishes in the sink, I noticed that the clouds were thick and full of rain above.  But directly in front, out west, the sun was peaking through a patch of clear sky as it was starting to head toward it’s setting and I knew it was shining on the rain-filled clouds to the east behind me...which would be visible from the garage.  

It was rainbow weather.

I went out to the garage and told Rich and the girls to keep looking into the clouds, that I bet they could find a rainbow.

My confidence in the statement surprised even myself.

Low and behold. The girls came running into the house about 5 minutes later, exclaiming their excitement about seeing a rainbow.

It was as if nature was rewarding me for letting the girls help me cook that day.  Ha!  Probably not, but that’s how I chose to take it.  What a beautiful reward it was!! 

 © Houseman 2013