At this rate, I might need to turn my blog over to my kids! Alex has definitely shown signs of wanting to kick me out of the kitchen and take over herself. I have declared that every Sunday without Girl Scouts (it happens twice a month) will be Alex Cooks Night, so that she will leave me in peace when I am cooking.
But I certainly don’t mean to imply I am not proud of her. And this last dish was even more exciting, since it was not baking but rather a meal. I happened upon Mollie Katzen’s Honest Pretzels: And 64 Other Amazing Recipes for Cooks Ages 8 & Up at the used bookstore recently, and it has been absolute treasure. The recipes are broken down into super simple steps with illustrations that lead, amazingly, to your child having assembled a casserole all on her own! If you have comparably aged kids, I highly recommend this one.
When Alex chose lasagna I did not have the heart to tell her that I am not a huge fan of traditional lasagna. And don’t worry I ate it cheerfully. John on the other hand needed to fake nothing–he was in absolute heaven since I never make lasagna. And Alex was over the moon. I let her do everything–even put the lasagna in the oven, except take the lasagna out. Mincing the garlic was aided by these Curious Chef Nylon Knives. I was so impressed with how well they worked (they reminded me of my plastic lettuce knife) that I took loads of pictures:
Smashing the garlic–I told Alex to think of something she really hated and smash away!
Mincing the garlic–I was seriously impressed by how well the knife worked for this.
This is my “Future Chef as Axe Murderer” shot. Totally Alex–she basically refused to smile for me, because she told me that since it was her lasagna she should be taking all the pictures!
Amusingly, Alex seems to believe (and no wonder with me as chief meal maker) that a crucial component of cooking and baking is photographing the results. Because of this, I am honestly not sure who took the winning photo up at the top! I had my DSLR attached to the tripod so I let her look through the viewfinder and snap some shots as well. Everything about this was such a success. Alex even set the table herself and insisted we eat in the dining room. I urge you to encourage your child to try cooking dinner also!
Alex clapping and calling people to the dinner table.
I have decided not to share Mollie Katzen’s recipe. It is a very basic recipe, using bottled marinara, shredded cheese, uncooked pasta noodles that cook in the sauce. The ricotta is amped up with lots of fresh basil and minced garlic. We adapted nothing–obviously–since the whole point was teaching Alex how to read and follow a recipe on her own. In light of all that, if you want the exact recipe I hope you buy the book!