I don’t have specific memories or helping my mom or dad in the kitchen as a young kid. It is more of a presence, a feeling that we were always involved in helping.
Clean up, mixing simple things, chopping, stealing bites, licking bowls and cutting out biscuits. I can remember “helping” make strawberry jelly on hot summer days, how the kitchen smelled sweet and sticky and like we were inside of a strawberry. I learned quickly what a rolling boil was and how to skim off the foam that tasted so delicious once cooled. All of these memories and so many more are what guide me in having LJ help me in the kitchen. Help is a very loosely used word here. Generally he is in the way, a mess, making a bigger mess and constantly asking questions, but it is those questions and the time we spend together that make me want to keep having a helper.
I want Jack to always be comfortable in the kitchen, comfortable to taste, smell, experiment and experience food. Comfortable to cook dinner for his friends, girlfriend, in-laws and family. Comfortable and confident to go beyond anything I will ever teach him.
Yes, cooking can teach science, math and other important skills, but it also teaches patience, sharing, simplicity, and service. Things that I think sometimes we forget to teach. So tonight as I clean up from the experience of cooking with a two-year old, it is with a hope that the lessons taught and samples tasted will lead to a stronger and better little boy who will someday be a man.