They can’t help themselves. No child ever can.
Tell a child that they are going to bake something, and they usually jump at the chance. Not because they love to cook (though many of them do), but more because they love to lick the cake batter. The lick it from the bowl, from the spoon, and from their fingers.
This morning we made raspberry & white chocolate muffins. I’ve made them many times, but I’ve never let my kids take control.
That all changed today.
Charlyse, knowing how to read a recipe, took out all the ingredients and equipment we would need. She laid them on the counter and then proceeded to read the recipe. Ever so carefully, she (and her friend) measured out the ingredients and placed them in the bowl. They took turns stirring, and they even stirred together until it was time to transfer the batter into the muffin tin.
And that’s when it got messy.
I had to restrain myself, which is hard for me as I’m always the one in control in my kitchen. And let me tell you – I hate not being in control! I literally had to stop myself from taking over and ensuring that it would be done without creating a mess. Instead, I just let the girls do it all. I let them scoop spoonfuls of batter into each muffin mould, dropping it over the benches as they went. It took every ounce of willpower not to interfere. I mean, this is how children learn in the kitchen, by doing things themselves under constant supervision from their non-interfering mothers (or even fathers). This was how I learnt, all those decades ago.
With one muffin tin full of batter, we popped it in the oven. And then, just so I could get the other muffin tin filled quickly, I did it.
I looked around the kitchen – it looked like a bomb had hit it. But the girls didn’t seem to notice – they were too busy licking up all the spilt cake batter, and cleaning out the batter remnants in the giant bowl. I left them to their fun, and cleaned up.
The first muffin tin came out, the girls tin, and it wasn’t pretty. But I can tell you now – those muffins tasted amazing! The girls were so thrilled, thrilled that they had made these delicious treats all by themselves.
And I’m sure they will remember it, just like I remember the first thing I ever cooked by myself. In fact, I’m almost certain I was the same age. Perhaps I have inspired a future Junior Masterchef? She’ll just have to add it to the list future occupations, consisting of Paleontologist, Equestrian, Olympic Swimmer, and Supermodel.