My 3 years old wants to be a chef. Since he was just 6 months old he likes to play with pans, pots and wooden spoons. Last Christmas he asked Father Christmas for a blender and a kneading machine. When he got his toys, he said “they are great, but next year I would ask for a real one!”. He has a great toy kitchen and can spend hours preparing the most amazing dishes ever and then offering them to us to try.
When we “eat” his creations exclaiming how delicious they are, he looks at you, earnestly, and says “mummy, is not real food, is just pretending”. Fair enough.
I can’t be around the kitchen without having him next to me, asking me what am I doing, following me everywhere willing to help.
So I sit him in the worktop next to me, put an apron on, and we cook together. Cooking dinner with my son is definitely the best moment of the day.
Most of the times is him who decides what we are cooking, how are we cooking, which ingredients we are using and in which order. He’s quite confident using spices, and can distinguish rosemary from basil and oregano from tarragon. He also knows the different uses that oils have, the different kinds of sugar, salts and also, the different results you get from one way of cooking to another. He can explain in a perfectly professional way, what you need to do to prepare a fried, boiled, scrambled or poached egg. I must recognise I feel tempted sometimes to let him do in the kitchen while I chill out with a book in the living room.
I, of course, don’t let him do any of the dangerous things such as chopping or being near the oven. And this frustrates him a bit, because it looks like I am getting all the credit for something that he has done.
I try to explain why he can’t do certain things yet, but his thirst of knowledge are above any reasons. So every day I let him do a bit more. He can mix, stir, pour, weight, microwave and serve completely on his own without creating any mess at all. So basically, he’s the head chef and I’m his helper.
A couple of nights ago I had an idea. At bed time, I told him a story about an imaginary future when he’s 25 and he has become the most famous chef of the entire world. He owns a restaurant, “La Patata” (“The Potato”) which has a massive kitchen with 50 ovens, 30 fridges and more than 100 different pans, pots, and utensils. And how, as an orchestra leader, he directs his team of 20 cooks to create the most amazing dishes with the most original combinations.
He listens carefully and laughs with hysterics every time the story reaches the point where he has to cook for a really important person and things get tricky because one of the ingredients is missing. And how finally he manages to sort it out and create the most amazing vegetable pasta dish of all times.
Then he receives the master chef of the year award.
This week recipe was something my son wanted to cook. We were back from school and I asked him if he wanted to eat anything.
Why don’t we prepare a fruit salad? No sooner said than done, I took him to the shop, he chosen the ingredients and he prepared the tastier, healthier, energizing and more refreshing fruit salad ever.
WHAT YOU NEED
For the fruit Salad
2 Cups of Cooked Quinoa
1 Mango, peeled and diced
2 Kiwi Fruits, peeled and diced
1 Cup Pomegranate Seeds
1 Cup Blueberries
1tbsp Mixed Seeds
Chopped mint leaves
For the vinaigrette
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
Lime zest to taste
1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
WHAT YOU DO