What's Cooking, Kids?

In yesterday's Boston Globe (online, at least) there was a piece about bringing back Home Ec courses in schools. Apparently, "kids these days" don't know how to do anything important any more, and all the practical skills have been pushed out of schools because they aren't tested. 

Part of me thinks, "Yes! Home Ec and Shop are totally important life skills." Also, I want to be the curriculum writer and teacher of that subject because it would be a blast and I would make it so awesome.

The other part of me thinks, "No! How much more can you possibly expect a school to accomplish? Can't parents teach their kids anything any more without outsourcing it to already-overburdened schools?"

And a third part of me thinks, "Who cares? My kids are well on their way to self-sufficiency. They clean their rooms, do their own laundry, care for the animals, and help with daily kitchen clean up." 

Best of all, they are also learning to cook. They get some help on skills from us, but mostly they (like their parents) prefer to read instructions and try it out on their own. So they have been practicing cooking in leaps and bounds, tackling a whole dinner at a time. 

I know I've mentioned in the past that the kids have been cooking their way through their vintage Meals of Many Lands cookbook, but this is the first time I've documented their work. Usually Kirk and I are banished from the kitchen, but since we were still working on the renovation and were in and out of the kitchen all afternoon anyway, they let me take some pictures while they made dinner for us tonight.

Reading the instructions and gathering the ingredients. On the menu: Russia. This included a stuffed tomato salad, beef stroganoff, and a charlotte russe for dessert.

Cooking together is fun!

Except for the onions, that is.

Supper is ready! The tomato is filled with cucumber and onion and dressed with some deliciously fattening sour cream-and-mayo combo. 

I had to take another picture, because a few bites into dinner the kids realized that they forgot to garnish the stroganoff with parsley. And it made a big difference!

Finally, dessert is served. It's a coffee-almond charlotte russe, and it tastes as good as it looks!

We decided that the slices look like mice. Next time, they might try decorating the top with candy eyes and whiskers. The ears are already taken care of. 

If we play this right, the kids will get so good at cooking that they can make dinner a couple times a week, and we will have more free time (especially since, in our house, the person who cooks has to clean it up after themselves as well). Over the summer, they were in a once-a-week groove. That's kind of tough during the school year, but we'll take what we can get on holiday weekends!


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