My kitchen is a sticky mess. Today my doorbell grandchildren showed up for a cooking lesson with soda and candy in hand. We’ve all learned a lot.
There was a simple plan in place. One of them had agreed to help me with a pork tenderloin recipe at 3pm. That plan went by the wayside when 3 of them showed up at noon. Of course they were hungry. After I shared my tuna croquettes and green peas with them, there was a flurry of activity in the kitchen.
The oldest brother mixed the glaze for the pork tenderloin while the middle brother chopped celery and red bell pepper for a white bean tzatziki salad. I sent the youngest to the back porch for some dill. Of course, he had no idea which plant that was. Not wanting to end up eating something ornamental and poisonous, I joined him on his search.
We started our exploration of back porch flora with mint. I had him smell each herb. We identified them by name and discussed what each might be used for. Of course no lesson is straightforward with this crew. We got interrupted several times with questions from the other two. Eventually, the conversation culminated in a pesto tasting.
Before we arrived at pesto, I had to demonstrate what 3/4 cup means. I had given one of the kids a 1/4 cup measuring cup and a recipe that called for 3/4 cup of tzatziki. He was at a loss for how 1/4 cup related to 3/4 cup. I must admit this had me shaking my head a bit. After all, these kids are 12, 13, and 14.
Anyway, that led to a more general lesson on fractions. We filled a one cup measuring cup with water from a 1/4 cup measuring cup, counting each time until it registered that there are four 1/4 cups in one cup. Eventually, that led to a recognition that 2/4 and 1/2 are the same. We tried doubling a recipe that called for 2/3 cup flour and it still took a minute for them to grasp that 4/3 equals 1 1/3 cups. Cooking is such a practical way to deal with fractions. A few bad batches of biscuits and you’re bound to step up your math game.
Then it was my time to learn. The oldest taught me how to make a drink he invented that combines orange soda with candy and ice. The drink was tart and tasty, but it’s going to require a real food processor or blender. Today, we made it using the larger of my food choppers which was up to the task in the beginning, but totally burned out before we were done. During the process, orange soda was transferred to every surface in my kitchen and half of those in the breakfast room. I still feel like I’m sticking to my computer and my phone.
I also learned about the risqué videos kids watch on Instagram – unfortunately, by seeing one with my own eyes. I learned that you cannot allow any cursing or it’s out of hand in less than a minute. I learned that Stewart sometimes likes to wear a little bling. Most importantly, I learned that every single one of you with multiple teenagers must have nerves of steel and astronomical grocery bills.
Now it’s the end of the day. I am tired. My kitchen is a sticky mess and we’ve all learned a lot. That’s often the way it goes in the kitchen.