I learned to bake when I was a little girl. My grandmother made delicious cakes, Irish soda bread and cookies. She would let me slop on the frosting and declare it beautiful!!
Cooking on the other hand, as in dinner food, came VERY slowly to me. The hot sizzling pan and fear of salmonella held me back for years! With the discovery of food allergies in our son I shaped up quickly, started cooking wholesome meals and everyone turns a blind eye to my over- cooked pork (I still can’t serve it slightly pink).
What I’ve realized lately is that my son has a continuing interest in cooking. For years when he was a little guy we cooked for the sake of math. We would discuss fractions using different sized measuring cups and whip up pancakes every day for about a year (we were in a breakfast rut!). Today he has graduated to dinner foods and enjoys chopping up veggies, measuring, stirring but most of all tasting. I have to agree with him when he says, ”Nothing ever tastes as good as when you’ve made it!”
He made Sunday dinner today. This is the third week in a row. Tonight it was bangers and mash. YUM! It was so good and not just because I didn’t have to make it. It really was good!
I think his continued and increasing passion for cooking was fueled by his Nintendo DS. Have you seen the commercial with the mom and her daughter making dinner via the DS Personal Trainer Cooking Game and declaring it tasty and easy? Well, they aren’t lying! The ingredients are easy to come by. The directions for the recipes are displayed on the DS screen and verbally given. The coolest part is that my son says “CONTINUE” or “LAST STEP” and the program responds to these voice commands, hence no mashies on the controls (my fear of salmonella has a tight grip on me)!
Why am I so impressed?
Well, because as parents of a food allergic child we know that our children will need this skill through out their lifetime. Having a food allergy shouldn’t mean missing out on good food. We make chinese food, pesto and mole sauce all without nuts and it’s delicious! I love that he is becoming a foodie. One of my biggest fears was that he would dislike food because of his food allergies and develop an eating disorder. Not only has this not happened but he’s found that he likes to eat “good” food.
If you haven’t finished your holiday shopping I highly recommend this game or a simple cookbook for your child. As you know, you will need to make some substitutions for food allergies. Personally I think it’s good for them to see egg in a recipe and whip out the water, oil and baking soda replacement, no questions asked. It’s a great life skill to have. It’s also a nice way to spend time together, learn more about their allergies and to create delicious food!