I was out with the pups just now, walking around the pool to get them to the grassy spots. It’s my favorite view of our home, from the backyard. Every morning I look at it and think, pinch me that I get to live here with these people and these pups. Even though the kids are, as I type, in my kitchen making something called “Not Your Mama’s Cookies”. This will involve every bowl and measuring utensil we own and, even though there are only five ingredients, will call into active duty no fewer than three rolls of paper towel to clean up. The shrapnel of this culinary experiment will fill both dishwashers and will require the floor to be mopped. Twice. On hands and knees because of sticky. I hate having kids in the kitchen. Did I say that out loud? Yes, and it was cathartic. I hate having kids in the kitchen. I wish I were the mama who welcomed her kids in to her kitchen to experiment and who then stands on the periphery, smile on beatific face, as her kids learn that one half cup needs to be one half cup because measurements count. Instead, I’m the mama who stands on the periphery, hands wringing the life out of each other and mentally thinking which norwex is going to be best utilized to get that molasses off the oven door. I, with all my type A-ness, can barely stand it, this raping and pillaging of my pristine kitchen, my haven. It’s terrible. I’m terrible.
There is so much to be learned in the kitchen classroom: how mise en place saves you later, how using a knife to level off your baking ingredients helps keep things honest, why there is a difference between baking powder and baking soda, how to cheat and make your own buttermilk with regular milk and a squeeze of lemon juice. I want my kids to learn these things, only I want them to learn them somewhere else. Can we collectively build a teaching kitchen with a janitorial staff where we can release our kids to their creative genius without nailing our kitchens to the cross? A sort of culinary dog park for kids. Baking and cooking unleashed. I’d throw money at that project all day. Because if I have to mop Pam overspray off my floor one my time, I’m going to ban them all from my kitchen til kingdom comes. Because lately every sentence starts with, “We will clean it up and we already have all the ingredients…” Because if I’m made to watch one more (ONE MORE!) Tasty tutorial with pleading eyes I will surely die of it. Holy Mother, help us in our hour of need.
I’m learning, slowly and with every muscle clenched, to be the mom who doesn’t say things like, “This kitchen is closed. I’m sorry, but it is.” Who needs to do deep breathing exercises when she sees the army of small destructors coming at her with a newly printed recipe, sideways smiles on their cunning faces. I’m learning to let them in, invite them in, mantra on loop-this is not precious. This kitchen is not precious. These ingredients are not precious. But these people are. Holy cow, are they precious. And they need to learn or they will grow up to be helpless prats in the kitchen and none of us wants that. So I teach them how to brown butter without burning and how to make the perfect meringue because who doesn’t love meringue? I teach them to steam veggies and the proper way to use a chef’s knife, fingers curled under so you don’t lose them. They learn how to make homemade Mac and cheese because at least then they won’t starve when they are grown up. And just the thought of them being grown ups makes me long to be with them. Even if it’s in the kitchen.
this is me being real