My daughter loves to help me cook. Granted, just as when she wants to “help” clean the house, or work on the computer, or mow the lawn, her definition of what it means to “help” tends to net more destruction and danger than I think the dictionary definition of “help” implies.
Still, I don’t really mind. In some ways, you could say that it’s because she’s my daughter and I love her, and so I love when we can participate in an activity we both enjoy. But in other ways, you could say that it’s actually because when we cook, she wears a mini chef’s hat and apron, and it’s so cute that I am scientifically unable to resist her.
Her main tool is a pink, miniature whisk with an owl as the handle. It’s really, if you ask her, a multi-tool. She uses it for everything.
“Okay, R,” I might say to her, studying a recipe. “It says that next, we need to peel the carrots, cut them in half length-wise, and then slice them julienne.”
“Okay!” she says cheerfully, and then proceeds to do her version of julienne, which is to just hit the carrot with her whisk over and over. “Am I doing it?” she asks, whacking away.
“Sure!” I say. “You’re definitely doing something!”
“All done!” she says a minute later, sliding the carrot back to me. It looks virtually indistinguishable from before. The only difference is that now, it’s a little beat up, and a little bit covered in grubby fingerprints.
“Did we wash your hands before starting?” I ask her, examining the carrot.
“Nope!” she says cheerfully, in the care-free way someone who has no concerns about health code violations might.
Overall, our restaurant gets a “C” for cleanliness. “C” stands for “Could be honestly a lot worse, considering a toddler is the co-chef.”
We grab a new carrot. Just in case there’s an inspection later. Hands newly washed, she moves on to dicing celery. “Dicing celery” is what it’s called when you take a piece of celery in one hand, a whisk in the other, gaze off into the distance, and, suddenly realizing that you are done with this actively, ask, “Are we done, mom?”
We can make basically anything together, but if you ever dine at our restaurant, you’ll learn that as co-chefs, we have a few specialities:
“Pie that looks like someone sat on it but it tastes fine, I swear”
“Smoothie that is now mostly on the counter”
“This looks like a muffin, right? Like, if you squint?”
“A strawberry with whisk marks in it”
If you’re ever in town, we’d love to serve you. We’re open for from 5:30-6:30 pm, and then also from 7:30 pm-3 am, which is when guests can attempt to whine their way into a snack if they refused to eat most of their dinner back when it was served.