Sundays have become “Cook Something Fun Day” at our house, so as the Packers threw away a brilliantly played half + one opening defensive stand in the third quarter while facing the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC championship, we were able to console ourselves with pizza muffins. On previous Sundays we have made homemade Italian meatballs, or Nachos. We have baked banana bread, chocolate chip cookies or brownies.
My daughter has always been interested in kitchens and restaurants. When she was younger, one of her favorite activities was playing restaurant. She would make menus, seat guests, take orders and serve “meals” of grapes, carrots and saltine crackers. I once asked her if she was going to be a chef when she grew up. She replied, “No, I’m going to own a restaurant.
Well, alrighty then.
When I was younger and cooked with my mom, we usually made something out of her red-and-white-checked Better Homes and Gardens cookbook—many of the pages worn with use—showing the drips of cake batter or the spills of water or oil on their edges. She would pull out the tired volume and flip the page to whatever recipe we would be making that day, and then I would help as we ignored instructions to sift flour or substitute ingredients. I learned much about making a recipe work with what you had in the kitchen, and I learned even more about how to recognize when you simply didn’t have what it takes to make a recipe work. We would make the tried and true recipes of home—pineapple upside-down cake, homemade biscuits, true Toll House chocolate chip cookies, fudge, and divinity (which rarely set in the Georgia humidity).
When I cook with my daughter, we also often turn to the tried-and-true recipes of our family, looking not only through my red-and-white checked cookbook but also the family cookbook: Fruits, Nuts and Flakes. That way my daughter gets a taste of her family heritage, literally.
However, we also go on culinary adventures, scouring the internet for recipes to make pizza muffins, monkey bread, egg strata or fruit pizza. We try new things and discover new favorite recipes along the way (I think this week’s pizza muffins will become favorite).
In the kitchen my daughter plays with fractions, practices reading, and has to WAIT while dough rises and cookies bake. These are all great skills to gain for life.
But more importantly, when my husband, my daughter and I are in the kitchen working together on a meal or desert, we are spending time creating and laughing, and things like a Packers loss don’t seem so bad—especially when you can drown your tears in homemade pizza muffins.
©2015 Michele Arduengo. All rights reserved.