Chez Caroline

Grown ups ask kids all the time, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I think I've mentioned before that my first answer to this age old q & a was "a tree." Parents have high aspirations for their kids, higher than a tree I am sure. Perhaps they imagine their tike will be a surgeon or assist refugees in a war torn nation. Two is probably too young to begin thinking about these things, but it is hard not to when your daughter has one preferred activity.

Steve announced yesterday while we all prepped for dinner together that our Caroline might turn out to be a culinary genius. Yes, I know that most kids LOVE to help Mom and Dad in the kitchen, pulling up a chair, getting their hands dirty. Caroline takes it to the max, wanting to assist with every aspect of the dinner prep from the seasoning of the meat, the mixing of the ingredients, to the stirring of the HOT pot. This last one always causes a meltdown and even when given her own pot, with her own whisk, with her own “rue” she only wants the REAL one; the hot dangerous not to be touched by children one. Am I wrong to assume that most parents let their kids help with things in the kitchen? I’ve been accused of taking it a bit too far at times, but let me remind you that it is terribly difficult for me to watch her mix some of the baking mix out of the bowl and wonder if the cake will ever rise, type a that I am. I don’t want to squelch her creativity and passion for the sake of things being perfect. I have learned to celebrate the not quite right tasting funfetti cupcake. To me, it is the best thing I have ever tasted.

Last night we had a delish meal of sweet apple chicken sausage, grilled peppers and onions, and polenta. Caroline seasoned the crap out of those peppers and onions. She doesn’t just pretend. She wants to season, to stir, to taste. Steve said they were perfectly seasoned…before he found out it was she who did the salting and peppering.

If she hasn’t offered to make you eggs and a muffin with butter yet, she will. She’s constantly concocting something amazing in her little kitchen. Pretend eating and cooking is a lot of fun for her, but she absolutely freaks out when I try to prepare ANYTHING in the kitchen without dragging the “helper chair” to its designated spot “RIGHT THERE!”

Future Top Chef Champ? We’ll see. For now, we’ll just keep up the kitchen antics.

Coincidentally, I’m sick of losing recipes, mostly from a toddler wielding a measuring cup of water over my cookbook. All our tried and trues & novel make agains will eventually make their way over to McChow. You can find last night’s sausage, peppers, and polenta from July’s Real Simple there as well as Friday night’s “who cares about the storm, I am eating mussels” meal.


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