If anyone had told me ten years back that I would be making bean enchiladas in my kitchen, I would have found it hilarious. Yet, here I am doing just that!
I had never cooked anything in my growing up years. My biggest achievement till then was to make Maggi, tea and cucumber-tomato sandwiches. My mother never urged me to “learn how to cook” for she herself learnt only after marriage and now she is a gourmet chef making lip smacking dishes. Her example and experience was an inspiration to me and my little sister and we stayed away from the kitchen and focused on our studies.
At the time of marriage, not being able to cook was a non-issue as well. My would-be husband had conveniently said “It’s okay. We shall hire a cook!” My husband and I did occasionally cook over weekends (if we were not going out) to make pasta, pizza etc. But most of the cooking was outsourced to the hired cook.
This continued till my son was about a year old. He had been a non-fussy eater all through and we realized that he relished food as much as we did. That is when I decided to enter the kitchen and take the reins in my own hands. I was excited to cook for my son his favourite things. While I continued to use the assistance of a cook for chopping and regular cooking, I took it upon myself to make the innovative dishes. And to my delight, it came naturally to me. This encouraged me and when my son started taking interest in what was being made I started involving him as well.
He’s 5 years now and we cook the following items together –
- Cakes – He loves eating cakes and we bake them together. They are more economical and not to forget –relatively healthier. He enjoys the whole process from mixing the ingredients, blending them to greasing the pan. Sometimes he does not have the patience to wait for it to bake but well then his Lego comes to rescue.
- Pasta – He enjoys simple pasta without too many ingredients. I usually lay them all out for him – boiled tricolour fusilli pasta, red sauce, grated cheese and some veggies of his choice. He mixes them in a large bowl and enjoys the yummy treats.
- Pizza – On pizza he prefers pepperoni but on days we cannot source it he takes the pizza base, spreads sauce on it neatly, lays generous toppings of tricolour bell peppers, sweet corn and grated cheese and hands it over to me to bake it. We sometimes add chopped sausages on the pizza as well.
- Enchilada – My son enjoys this Mexican feast and helps me in filling the corn tortilla with kidney beans and salsa. We sprinkle grated cheese over the wrapped tortillas and bake them in the oven. Sometimes we add sweet corn and bell peppers to the filling.
- Salad – He enjoys making salads for me (Yes I get the message that I need to eat that more often!). He spreads lettuce leaves and adds watermelon cubes, boiled egg chunks, pomegranate and cut walnuts. His favourite part is adding the salad dressing and mixing everything.
- Sandwiches – My son has developed a liking for salami and easily prepares sandwiches with a layer of salamis and cheese slice. He also likes to make sandwiches with cucumber and tomato.
In addition to these he eats regular Indian preparations, fruits and lots more. He enjoys the process of cooking and claims he wants to become a chef one day (which probably will change several times growing up). He enjoys this process of concocting a gourmet meal and laying the table. He knows he has to wash his hands right before we start cooking, make sure all vegetables are properly washed and wash hands again after cooking. He always makes sure the dishes he uses are also clean. Today we have a come a long way from the time when my son used hand wash to clean utensils and washed his hands with detergent bar! In fact to ensure it’s convenient we have a hand wash and fresh hand towels lying on our kitchen sink. We ensure everything is hygienic and tasty at the same time. After all the secret ingredient in our preparations is always love!
While we enjoy cooking as a family, I can’t help but glare at my husband when he claims that “You cook such delicious stuff at home that we don’t need to go to a restaurant!” My son and I love eating out and so does my husband and we will not let that change. As for eating healthy is concerned, we more than compensate for it through the rest of the week!
And as Guy Fieri quoted “Cooking with kids is not just about ingredients, recipes and cooking. It’s about harnessing imagination, empowerment and creativity.”
This article was first published on Momspresso (erstwhile mycity4kids) sponsored by Dettol.