Love and Learning in the Kitchen
My mom is an excellent cook. She is never afraid to try new things and experiment. I have so many great memories in the kitchen with her and my siblings. She always involved us when she was baking/cooking even though the mess was always greater and it took twice as long as it should.
We made shortbread cookies into ridiculous uneven shapes. We ate raw cookie dough by the handful. We experimented with scrambled eggs by adding random ingredients. My mom made the kitchen a place to experiment, learn and have fun.
My dad is not a huge chef. But for a while when we were growing up he would cook dinner on Sunday nights. It was a huge ordeal. I don't know where he got his recipes from since this was before the internet. Honestly, he might have just made them up. We called his Sunday night dinner "SLUNCH". Why? I'm not entirely sure. Sounds a bit gross but also possibly delicious at the same time. That was basically what it was. My brother, sister and I used to cry, whine and complain about the Slunch. We HATED it. Well, I think we at least hated the idea of it. We were used to our mom's cooking. Our dad's meat-centric meals were different and weird.
I have a vivid memory of eating Slunch and pretending not to like it, while actually really enjoying it. At the same time, my brother was literally spitting his food out onto his plate and crying. I remember thinking, why is he spitting his food out? It's not even that bad!
Now that I'm a mom of 4, I wish I could go back and thank those versions of my parents. My dad for taking all that time and effort on Sunday's to prepare a meal for our family and give my mother a break. Only to have us cry and complain about it and barely eat it.
My mom for always involving us and always cooking epic and delicious meals. We weren't a family that ate out or ordered in a lot. Which means my mom hardly ever had a break. And while I don't remember myself being an overly picky eater, my parents might remember things differently. I'm not sure.
Now I experiement with food for my family. I put so much effort and time into making meals and they are not always well-recieved. Finley barely eats anything but somehow always thinks she should be rewarded with a cookie. Fletcher is hit or miss. One day he thinks avocados are the most delicious thing on the planet and the next day they taste like cow plop. It's so hard to please them. Don't even get me started on Ophelia. She spits half her food out.
Everyday is a new adventure in the kitchen. Experimenting with recipes. Food failures and successes. Trying to cook for 6 different mouths with different taste buds. It's a frustrating balancing act but somehow I still find being in the kitchen to be joyful.
Cooking and baking with my kids is time consuming and messy but hopefully it will help them to experience and continue to feel joy in the kitchen for years to come. I am so thankful for my mom for experimenting with us as kids, for making messes, for being patient and for always letting us lick the spoons.
Hopefuly one day my kids will also be thankful. Or perhaps they are appreciative and the way they show it is interrupting me in the shower to show me how big their bowel movements are. I don't know, that's love, right? For now atleast they are having fun, learning about food, and clearly eating enough fiber.
Dad if you are reading this, maybe you should give Slunch another try, I think now it would be much better received. I doubt anyone (besides Ophelia) would spit it out. You might even get a thank you.