Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Cooking 101

“Mom, do we have any ground cinnamon?”

These were the words I heard over the phone, 4:24 PM. Yes, I was still at work and my daughter was on the other end of the line.

“Up in the cabinet by the oven. Why do you need that, honey?” I replied, although a slight uneasiness was beginning to form in my stomach.

“Oh, it’s a surprise for you. Gotta go.” Click.

Hmmm… Should I worry or let her go with her mystery? She has shown a vast interest in cooking over the past couple of years, but usually I was home to help with the finer points, like making sure the ingredients actually made it into the bowl or sweeping up the items that missed the bowl and the table entirely and landed on the floor.

I thought she should have this latitude, unencumbered by me. (Clap for me here because I showed immense restraint. See I am learning!)

Ten minutes, she called to ask, “If I wanted to turn the oven on to 357º, what do I press?”

Confusion set in. “357º? Are you sure it doesn't say 350º or 375º?”

“Oh yeah, I meant 375º. What do I press to turn it on?” she asked so sweetly.

Wait a minute. What am I thinking? She can mix, blend and pour all she wants. I’m not ready for her to run the oven by herself.

“Honey, I don’t want you using the oven when I’m not there,” I cautioned.

“I know. I am not going to do anything with the oven. I just want it ready for when you get home. Then you can cook the surprise.” She sounded so pleased with herself, for making something all on her own and for the cooking adventure in which she was now involved. I could hear her jumping up and down with excitement.

Two minutes later, I get another call from her. “I can’t wait to tell you what it is. I made homemade granola. All. By. Myself. I am so excited. It’s the first thing I made all by myself!! No one was here to help me!” Glee gushed from every syllable she uttered. I could hear the smile and pride over the phone. All that happiness boiled down to one thing in her mind: She knew that she was big stuff, capable of handling situations and ideas on her own.

She is growing up so quickly. Cooking on her own, picking out music that she wants to jams to after school, actually matching her socks to her outfit… these are all things that remind me that she is not a little girl anymore. I had better get geared up for these changes because they are coming whether or not I am ready.

By the way, I cooked her concoction when I got home. It was delicious! And the mess I thought might be awaiting my return was nonexistent. She had put every dish into the sink and put every used ingredient away.

There might be more to this cooking thing than I thought. If she can do this, just think of what she could do with chicken…


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