Recently we ran out of pancake and waffle mix. (Yes, I cheat.) This would have been an unremarkable event except that Ryan, who really wanted waffles one morning, was willing to entertain the idea of making them from scratch. “Ok, let’s find the recipe,” I told him, and then, as he headed toward my laptop, “No, we don’t need to look it up online. I have it in a book.”
Pretty soon he and Nathan were poring over one of my cookbooks. I do have them, but it isn’t too surprising the kids think that recipes come from the computer; most of my new recipes are from there. I occasionally look up something obscure in Joy of Cooking, or remind myself of how to make apple jelly in my preservation book, but otherwise I hardly ever pull them out.
Yet the boys were fascinated by this cookbook concept. They spent some time flipping through the pages of the cookie section, reading out recipe titles they wanted to try. Watching them, I realized that this format was far more accessible to them than an online search or even my recipe card box. (The latter is true mainly because I get very finicky about my organization being messed up, and the kids are trained young not to pull the cards out.)
Within a few hours they worked together to made a recipe from it — chocolate chip cookies, which is hardly new, but it was still interesting to me that he wanted to make the one in the book. And within a week Nathan looked up and made a chocolate cake. Despite the fact that he entirely ignored the “directions” section and just went off the ingredients (another effect of my cards, which rarely have directions written), the cake turned out very well.
This policy of letting them have treats as long as they make them themselves is proving pretty effective at getting Nathan to bake. Which is not surprising; that’s exactly what my parents did with us, too. I wonder what he’ll make next…