In a previous blog, I mentioned that I tend to cook a lot more from scratch here in Uganda (see “Chez Donahue” 07 Nov 2011“). I have discovered an unexpected advantage to having to cook this way: Caleb likes to join me in the kitchen more. While he is willing to help me with some of the mundane chores like stirring the pasta to keep it from sticking together, he really prefers helping me with more of the hands-on real cooking that I do.
I guess he has always been this way. He loved helping his grandmother decorate Valentine’s cookies to take to his class when he was in preschool. He wasn’t terribly meticulous about getting the sprinkles spread very evenly, but hey, he was only four. And he loves when I make gnocchi. I’m not sure if he likes eating it more or helping me roll out the dough and then cutting it with the pizza cutter.
Since we’ve been in Uganda, he has taken to helping me make some of the things that I have to make from scratch because we can’t get in the stores. Lately, he has helped me kneed and roll out tortillas and brown ground beef for tacos. We also spent a fun afternoon making snickerdoodles when Caleb helped me roll the cookies in cinnamon sugar before sticking him in the oven. I had to keep a pretty watchful eye him though so he wouldn’t snitch too much raw dough. And I’m happy to say, his cookie decorating skills have greatly improved. You should have seen his meticulously decorated Christmas Trees, Snowmen and Sugar Cookie Men this past Christmas.
It is exciting to watch Caleb’s interest in cooking grow. Robert and I both love to cook, so I guess he comes by it naturally. Who knows? Maybe he’ll be a great chef someday. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.