Sunday, August 21, 2011

Egg shells, flour, and joy

Today Ella B and I spent some time cooking pancakes together, or I cooked and she swirled egg shells and flour in a bowl with a whisk. Either way, it got me excited for our culinary future. Most of you know that cooking is just about my favorite thing in the whole world and that the only reason I don't leave it all behind and go to culinary school is that I actually have no desire to work in a restaurant. Ideally, I would author glossy, brightly-colored cookbooks and host my own Food Network show where Jamie Oliver and Chuck Hughes stopped by to marvel at my blue cheese souffle and rosemary lamb chops....but I digress.

So, you might imagine that I've been envisioning cooking a meal with my child since before I even had a bun in the oven. As a child, I use to sit on the counter and watch my mother bake cookies. I would describe the piles of flour as snow-caped mountains and the eggs as falling sunsets. I loved watching the process of cooking as much as I loved the final outcome. It was like an art project you could eat which, obviously, is the best kind of art project ever. It also filled the house with these beautiful, comforting smells, and everyone's bellies with a little touch of heaven.

Right now, Ella B doesn't really know what cooking is, but she loves the smell of cinnamon and vanilla and she loves the texture of flour against her fingertips. She knows that some things are hot and that things in a bowl need to be stirred. She doesn't have all the techniques or the terminology down, but she has the curiosity, and that's the most important part, I think.

The ritual of cooking is a joyful experience for me and I can't wait to share that joy with Ella B one day, but for now, I'll settle for a bowl of egg shells and a happy baby.

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