Friday, October 3, 2014

Food Friday: Food Everyday

I've been posting a lot about food on Facebook. I admit it. Though I try to keep the majority of the pictures to Instagram, as I scroll through my feed, it's a lot of what I've noticed.

But to be honest, it's one of the things I'm learning to adjust to in my transition to being a stay-at-home-mom. Back in Maryland, Jake was the cook in the house. I cooked once a week (sometimes), but he really wore the apron in the family. He had the subscription to Cook's Illustrated, he could make up recipes off the top of his head, he had it together enough in the morning to do more than just pour cereal into a bowl and drip milk over it for breakfast. I could do none of those things.

I wanted to, I really did, though I never felt like I had time to. (And I really like eating Jake's food. He's very good.) And I made steps by learning to bake along with The Kid. It became one of the Things We Did Together. We have a few spare minutes on a weekend? Let's make cookies! A few more minutes? Marshmallows! But it wasn't a priority for me unless we were working together, or I was DIY-ing something. (Although I had an awesome time doing it.)

Fast forward to now.

With me in the apartment full-time and Jake going to work five mornings a week, I've been taking the reins in the kitchen. I'm pretty damned proud of it. As comes with the territory of, you know, being me, I've been doing research into recipes, reading about food, talking about food, learning about cooking techniques. I'm not, like, great at it yet, but I'm learning and I'm trying. The Kid and cooking are kind of my jobs now, and though I am picking up some awesome freelance work, I know where my full-time gig is.

And so where I used to post about funny things that happen in classes I'm teaching, right now, I'm posting about funny things The Kid has said, or some recipe I've made. It's my job right now. And while that was a pretty jarring thing to realize, I'm having more fun doing it than I would have thought. Though it is occasionally, as all things parenting, kind of frustrating.

We like things Mini around here. (This is a tiny raspberry cheesecake.)
I do try to include The Kid in as much of the cooking as I can, so now we're not only making cookies and marshmallows, we're making savory things too. (Thank goodness from my waistline!) In addition to sweets, we've now made quesadillas, pesto, fresh pasta, and cauliflower "rice."

A few weeks ago, a friend asked me what cookbooks I like to use with The Kid. I put off answering her (sorry, Lauren!), because I was trying to think of an answer besides, "If the recipe uses the KitchenAid, the food processor, or a whisk, The Kid is all over it."

I still haven't thought of a much more satisfying answer (honestly, those are his favorite things to do in the kitchen, and so that's how I gauge what recipes we can do together, and what he can do to contribute to those recipes), and someday soon I'll write a post about how we cook together without making a huge mess of things. 'Cause while cooking naturally makes a big mess of things, it doesn't have to be huge. And we're working on figuring that out.

The Kid makes pesto, using a recipe from Pretend Soup.
The one cookbook we've really used a lot, which we've renewed from the library three times now, is Pretend Soup by Mollie Katzen. The recipes are written out for adults, and also pictorially for pre-reader kids. So, The Kid can tell me what to do when we're making, say, blueberry pancakes. There have been other cookbooks--and we're really looking forward to using a vegetarian one a friend sent us recently--but this one has treated us incredibly well.

To be honest, there's a lot of time in the day when one is getting used to making her own schedule, let alone her own schedule when she also needs to come up with activities with a three-year-old. And cooking helps fill our day, along with art projects, building train sets, and pretending to be the trucks from Mighty Machines. It's something comforting, that we know will take time and help us work together. And, like any convert, it's something about which I have become fervent and evangelical. It's something sequential with a qualitative outcome: either the hard work pays off or it doesn't, and often it's tasty.

I like tasty: I like reading about it, talking about it, and eating it. And while I still LOVE eating when Jake cooks (man, he's so good), I'm really proud of what I've been learning, and of being able to spend this time with The Kid making tasty things.

In conclusion: frittata. (I suck at ending blog posts.)

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