Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fantasy vs reality

The fantasy:

Perfect Mother that I am, baking gingerbread "skeleton" and "pumpkin" cookies with my five-year-old is a breeze, like an episode of Martha Stewart. I assemble the ingredients ahead of time, teaching Sam the importance of mise-en-place. I speak to my son in a sing-song voice, letting him do most of the work as I marvel at his precocious poise and talent in the kitchen. The cookies are, of course, flawless. Helping a small child decorate them poses no challenge to someone who happens to be a cooking instructor in her spare time (when she is not being a Perfect Mother, that is). My camera has a memory card in it and Sam waits patiently while I seek out the most flattering natural lighting for my artful photos.

The reality:

There is flour all over the kitchen. I reach for the ingredients in the cupboard one by one as we go along, forgetting the baking soda and salt. The recipe for gingerbread biscuits in the Rose Bakery cookbook calls for "spice mix," the one thing I don't have in my extensive spice collection, so I substitute Chinese five-spice powder (good enough). Sam is all over the place, dragging his stool from one side of the kitchen to the other. The only words that come out of my mouth are "No, no, no!" The cookies emerge from the oven looking a bit flat (lack of baking soda). The tube of icing that I unearth from my cupboard with a sigh of relief, thinking it will be easy for Sam to use, works like a dream but runs dry after the second cookie. Quickly I throw together some icing sugar and milk to ice the rest of the cookies, but the mixture comes out too runny. Sam eats the two skeleton cookies before I have a chance to photograph them. That's OK: I have no idea where my camera's memory card has got to. I am not the Perfect Mother, but life is too short for superfluous guilt. Sam is happy.


La Belette Rouge said...

Cute picture of both a trick and a treat! The reality sounds more fun and even more memorable---if it had all turned out perfectly you wouldn't have had such a great story

Roisin said...

Hee! The reality certainly sounds familiar! Our (early) morning began here with fights about which costume to wear and whether witches have to brush their hair before school...And instead of tasty homemade treats, I made "spooky wormy kraft dinner" for their lunches...Happy Halloween to Sam from chilly Winnipeg!

kathryn said...

Not perfect, but sounding pretty normal to me. I've been trying to interest my nephew in cooking. But he gets bored and wanders off half way through.

I'm then left to finish off cookies / cakes / slices on my own. Grumbling as I go.

I keep on thinking I'll give up, but I'm determined my nephews will at least know something about cooking.

Nora B. said...

If Sam is happy than your are the perfect mom. :-) I love that photo of him. His got cute curly locks.

Susan said...

Life would be pretty darned dull if we lived the fantasy. Rosa, your reality was very funny and not unlike most of the way our kitchens run. Sam's got the body language just right. Seems like you both had a good time.

Rosa said...

Thanks for dropping by, Belette Rouge!

So I am not alone, Roisin! I'm curious as to what went into spooky wormy Kraft dinner... black food coloring??

Kathryn, I'm sure your message is getting through bit my bit. Some kids are more drawn to the kitchen than others, but it's so important for them to know someone who is passionate about cooking. It could change everything for them in the future.

Thanks, Nora - luckily kids don't require perfection to be content!

Susan, I can't believe that your kitchen is ever chaotic! But it is more fun that way sometimes (I guess).

swirlingnotions said...

Oh thank you for this!

Just found your blog through WHB . . . I'm looking forward to poking around!