I have often wondered whether my children will have the same love and passion for food and cooking that I do. I have always encouraged them to try everything food wise from smelly blue cheese to salty anchovies. When confronted with something that might look a bit ‘icky’ like brains or chicken liver or smell a bit high like a ripe washed rind cheese, they now repeat the mantra ‘eat with your taste buds not your eyes or your nose’ before I even start.
The question is, will they follow the pursuit of flavour and freshness or are they harboring a deep resentment of all things culinary and long for the day when they can escape and eat fast food for every meal.
I must confess I can be a tyrant in the kitchen and my sous chef and line cook (read 10 year old daughter and 7 year old son) often get cut with words sharper than the knives they are using when they are compelled to lend me their help. ‘No wonder it has taken them so long to begin to enjoy the delights of cooking’, I am told by my wife in answer to my pondering my childrens reluctance to join my culinary adventures. ‘They have no room to experiment and learn’ she continues ‘you insist they do everything your way whenever they peel chop or stir they can’t just have a go, it must be done perfectly or you take over’, she accuses.
Recently however I flipped through a cooking magazine and my Daughter pointed to a dish and said yummm I would like to make that. So we gathered the ingredients and she set to work. She peeled and diced onions browned mince, salted water for pasta, grated cheese, measured, weighed and cleaned up the mess afterwards.
We enjoyed her cooking for dinner, true it was just a simple pasta bake BUT the difference was that my daughter not me had chosen what to cook, she was one in control.
Ah the pride, the swelling of my chest as I stood and watched her cut and dice onion, portioning the meat, putting just a small portion in the pan at a time to cook so it wouldn’t stew, understanding which ingredients need to be exact measurements and which she could alter to taste.
I fondly remember claiming certain dishes at home as my own ‘signature’ dish and would be called upon to cook them each time. As I gained confidence I would tweak the recipes (sometimes with success sometimes with spectacular failure).
I am beginning to wonder now if the kitchen will be big enough for the two of us.