I think I may give away our math and reading curriculum and just become a school of the gustatory arts. It seems to be what everyone likes best, and cooking seems to me to have a lot of job security.
Tonight Violet and I made a nice spinach/cannellini bean risotto and some Caesar salad on the side. I chopped some onion, and Violet peeled and chopped the garlic and did all our sauteeing. (Brief French lesson for Violet–saute does not mean stir, but literally jump. We have not started flipping the onions with a shake of the wrist quite yet, however.) We tossed in the drained, cooked spinach and a can of beans toward the end of adding the broth (I did the broth additions but let Violet tell me when the rice was getting too dry and needed more), and then about 1.5 T. of butter and maybe 1/2-3/4 cup of parmesan. (Maybe a bit more cheese than I would have added, but I was giving Violet the reins, and she wanted to put in all that I had grated, so we had some very cheesy risotto. She also let me know that it needed salt — which in fact it did. Our broth must have been very bland. I showed Violet how I guesstimated about 1/2 t. of kosher salt in my hand before tossing it in, then we ground some peppercorn into it.
Everyone likes risotto, of course, but it was especially popular tonight! Violet — who has cooked with me on several occasions, but usually baking treats or popovers — is ready to cook every night, and is planning her 9th birthday dinner, which she will prepare and serve to her guests.
I wish her the best of luck. I too love cooking for guests, but so few people like to have little dinners anymore that we don’t socialize this way much. I think there’s also something about the heavily gender-segregated world of at-home moms and homeschooling moms that makes socializing harder. I was long accustomed to doing things with Eggmaster and our friends, but since becoming an at-home mom I think it’s like 1950, and women and men are socializing in their separate spheres. It’s bizarre! And it doesn’t suit us, as Eggmaster is not a “how ’bout that local sports team?” kind of guy, and I enjoy being with him and having fun together. (He’s much funnier than I am–than almost anyone is–once you get him started, so I always hope a little of the glow rubs off on me.) So our entertaining and being entertained is minimal. But I digress . . .
I’m really excited about the girls being so into cooking, as it’s something I’m into as well . And both kids seem naturally curious about how things work — why does food brown? how much liquid is soaked up and how much evaporates? I’m looking forward to planning at least one meal for each girl to be really involved with each week: Victoria will have her Chef’s Alphabet, and for Violet I think I will scan history and geography to plan some regional foods. The hard part is that they both want to be in the kitchen with me at the same time, but I want them to do real work–that is, use flames and sharp things–so I don’t like being too crowded or having to many little fingers to keep track of. The necessity of a chore chart (ugh — these are not good for me!) becomes clearer.
Anything to get us into more of a routine and get those kids doing more of the housework!