Friday, June 04, 2010

Another self-starter in the kitchen

Sophie has shown incredible talent in the kitchen. Around age 9 she developed an interest in baking on her own, gradually mastered a huge variety of different recipes and developed her understanding of culinary techniques. She has the right combination of attention to detail but willingness to experiment. If a recipe says "in a small bowl, cream half the margarine with the brown sugar," she never needed advice on what they mean by small, or whether it's truly okay to substitute butter for margarine, or whether this brown sugar would be considered lightly or firmly packed. She's always confidently made those decisions herself and moved on, figuring out quite easily which directions need to be followed precisely and which allow for estimation and adaptation.

Now I've got another kid like this. Fiona is just 7 but works on the assumption that anything the older kids can do she can learn to do too. I came into the kitchen the other morning to this sight.

"What are you doing?"

"Baking something."

"Oh, uh, okay... what?"

"Almond squares. I found this recipe here to try. We have everything we need -- I checked."

She needed a bit of help getting the mixer out of the pantry (it's heavy!), and figuring out which pan was 8x8" (she's a metric girl, this one). Other than that, she did it on her own. It wasn't the simplest recipe either. There were three layers, the instructions involved operations like cutting in and folding, there was whipping of cream and separating of eggs and grinding of nuts involved, and two stages of baking and cooling. She managed it all.

And they tasted just like they were supposed to!

1 comment:

  1. It's so cool that younger kids not only have parents around as models of life learning and taking inititive, but also siblings as well.

    My four year old begs to help me when she sees me cook. She already can break an egg cleanly, has been chopping veggies since she was two, and loves to bread things. She hasn't initiated any cooking project yet, but I wonder if she'll like to when she's older.


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