Over the summer T watched a TV show in which kids-some as young as 8- competed in a cooking competition. Since then 6-year-old T's been increasingly interested in cooking.
First he made smoothies. Then sweets. Now he's starting to work on main dishes.
When our church's annual chili cook off was announced T determined to try his hand at chili. I mentioned my two favorite recipes to him. He wanted to search for his own. A web search soon turned one up, and soon we headed off to get supplies for "crazy pork and pineapple chili".
As I baked cookies T sauteed ground pork with onions. He found the length of time it took a little too long. " Won't you take a turn?" He asked. I encouraged him, and he succeeded. As soon as it was browned I carried the hot pan over next to the crock pot.
T spooned it from the pan to the pot. He opened cans of beans, tomatoes, and pineapple. He measured seasonings ("Is this a tablespoon or this one?"). He mixed it all together. His dad plugged in the cord and T turned the knob to low. He'd done it!
"I'm going to win," T declared. I assured him it was admirable to cook, and he was right to be satisfied with his work, but not to be surprised if he didn't win his first try.
In the morning we loaded it into the car. T was so excited. As soon as the service ended T hurried with his dad so he could add the pineapple (he'd used the juice the night before). "No!" He said. "They tasted it before I'm finished" As someone took pictures T added the pineapple and stirred. Splat! The juices of the sauce splashed his yellow shirt. One of the judges saw what he was doing.
"But we already tasted it!" She said. "Do we need to again?" "No," replied another, "We'd already decided."
Of course T didn't win, but he wasn't really all that disappointed for long. There was too much fun to be had and anyway, he was pleased with his work.
As he finished eating a woman approached.
"I heard you made the pineapple chili," she said to him. "Did you do it by yourself?" She then said "I'm a chef. I cook for a living. You know, I started at your age. You did well." Then she gave him advice. She told him to keep practicing and taste, taste, taste as you go.
Now T can't wait to cook again!