Aug 7, 2013

Cooking with a 12 Year Old Boy

Several months ago, my Son and I began a family tradition:  Wednesday Night Cooking with Mom.  It has been one of the greatest blessings of the year.  I have to admit that even though it has been a fantastic experience, like most things in life you have to get through the struggle to enjoy the reward.

Alas, he's 12 and asking him to do ANYTHING at this point in his life is a major inconvenience.  He grumbles and complains and every week tries to procrastinate.  He cops an attitude about choosing the meal and calls the whole thing stupid.  "Why do we have to do this again?" he moans.  I have to admit that on occasion I have blown my top... the idyllic bonding and instruction time does not always materialize.

Once I get him in the kitchen, it becomes a lesson in patience.  The hubby knows dinner WILL be late; it takes time to teach and a 20 minute dinner always takes exponentially longer.  It's a balancing act between proper instruction and letting him try things on his own.  Knife skills are particularly nerve wracking, every 12 year old boy wants to use the biggest knife in the block and chop with sheer strength and force.  Hot stoves, hot pans, hot ovens all have to be managed.
The World's Ugliest but Most Delicious Christmas Cookies (Not Exactly What I Envisioned...)

The mess... oh my goodness, it is a sight to behold.  Vegetables scattered here and yonder, flour... (now, even I make a mess with that stuff), spices shaken all over the stove, empty containers everywhere, spilled milk, two dozen dirty spoons, hot pans on counter tops, salt on the floor, a jar of honey dripping onto the counter... oh yeah, I spend as much time cleaning up after him as I do teaching him.

We sometimes argue; he insists he knows how to do something, like cut a tomato, and I witness what can only be described as a tomahawk chop about to come down on the hapless vegetable.  He doesn't appreciate my near hysteria at the explosion he is about to cause and says, "Geez, Mom aren't you over reacting?"

I drink while we cook.

That's become another part of the tradition.  I even share a bit with him.  That's part of the educational process, teaching him how to properly drink a glass of wine, how little it actually takes to get a buzz, and how quickly it can sneak up on you.  If I don't teach him how to properly handle and moderate his alcohol he'll learn it for himself. 

Sounds like drudgery, right?  Not by a long shot.  It seems that God sneaks in the kitchen when we aren't looking and makes magic happen.  Our food is wonderful!  Almost everything we've made has been delicious.  The Wednesday family dinners are the best of the week.  My normally finicky kid eats EVERYTHING he makes and now has a new appreciation for how hard Mom works to put on a meal.

We don't cook easy meals, we don't heat things up in the microwave; we cook.  It would be a lot easier on both of us if I bought simple box dinners for him and he nuked a couple of things but what would he learn?  What's the value of heating up something?  Not much.  Thus, our walk with the Lord is very much like cooking with your kids.  It's messy at times, it takes a lot longer than it should, we think we know what to do but we really don't, and sometimes we've got to have a glass of wine along the way.