I'm raising a young chef. Even as I type this, I'm scratching my head -- which is hard to do because both typing and scratching require the coordinated use of your fingers. She doesn't get this from me. At this juncture in life with three young children underfoot, my cooking philosophy is "Eat to Live." There's little art involved, just survival.
It's a shame because when someone cooks with flair, it's beautiful.
I noticed this the other day when my daughter bypassed cartoons in order to watch a show on the Food Network. When she discovered this channel she looked at us deeply as if we had been depriving her, as if she were thinking, Food Network, where have you been my whole life?
The chef was making lobster risotto. My daughter was enthralled and, to be honest, I was too. Everything about the way she worked was systematic, smooth, calm, and pleasant, and for a moment I felt desire rise up within me to cook. Not just to cook -- but to create something exceptional.
Then I snapped back into reality. Because what I'd actually like to see on the Food Network is a reality cooking show. It can be filmed at my house, and it would go something like this:
At the start of the show, I'd scramble to see what we have in the refrigerator and make a quick decision that we'd be having tacos. I wouldn't call it tacos, of course. I'd call it Mexican Fiesta Night. Two out of three children would cheer. One would declare that she no longer likes Mexican food, although it was her favorite last week.
As I browned the ground beef and spoke to the camera about the fine aroma, my kids would begin fighting in the background about a toy that previously had been untouched for 17 days until one picked it up and the other two decided that they, too, must play with it instantly. Cue commercial break.
Instead of having ingredients prepped and measured in adorably matching dishes at the onset, I would scramble to grate cheese, cut tomatoes, and shred lettuce, only to realize that we are nearly out of cheese and our lettuce is wilted. At the last minute, I'd decide that canned corn would be a nice addition. Isn't that color just beautiful, I'd comment, wiping my hands on my back pockets because my dish towel currently is serving as a blanket for someone's doll.
Periodically as I worked, small hands would reach onto the kitchen island to steal
food items. One child would wrap herself around my leg, hindering my
movement around the kitchen. Someone would yell from the bathroom that they just went potty and need to be wiped. Cue second commercial break.
Once I'm back, the camera would capture me delicately scooping meat and sprinkling a meager ration of cheese into each taco shell, confirming "You wanted a hard taco, right?" while making direct eye contact with each child and observing the nod of affirmation in return. I'd carry plates to the table and we'd pray. Mere seconds after "amen" one child would look at her plate, shocked, and announce, "But I wanted a soft taco."
Three minutes into dinner, I'd remember to sit down at the kitchen table. Instead of leisurely sipping sangria from stemware, I'd be drinking water from a plastic cup with butterflies even though I'm positive that it's not my glass. After wiping up one spill, dinner would be finished in six minutes.
I'd wipe down the table and clean up the highchair. I'd sweep the remnants of cheese, ground beef, taco shell crumbs, and corn kernels from the floor, empty the trash, load the dishwasher, and finally sit down.
Two minutes would pass. Someone would ask for a snack.
Image compliments of Life123.com (Creative Taco Recipes)