A New Chef in the Kitchen

Riley has very much enjoyed summer camp this summer. Last year she enjoyed it but mostly because they had Roblox on the computers. This year, though, she has gotten into the themes of the weeks and the activities much more. My personal favorite theme this summer was the week that they wrote fairy tales and Riley wrote about a daring princess who saves all her friends along with her sidekick, the pretty boy. Of course, in true Riley fashion, they did still get married and have a baby at the end.

Riley’s favorite theme came this past week when they learned about healthy eating and visited a local community college’s culinary center. After the chef’s demonstration, Riley was hooked. She talked the whole car ride to get Maddie about the watermelon slush recipe that they learned and walked me through each step in great detail. When I suggested that she may want to take out a cookbook from the library that night, she about jumped out of her booster seat with excitement. Chef Riley was born.

She borrowed a Disney princess cookbook from the library. It was one that she had taken out twice before but quickly forgot about when we got home. This time, she tore through it on the way home, carefully reading each dinner recipe to decide what she would make us that night. Her final decision was pizza.

She was excited, but she was also focused. Those two descriptions do not typically go together for her and caused me a few moments of pause as I realized how much she’s growing up. We talked about cooking best practice, how cooks read the whole recipe through, gather their ingredients beforehand, and put them away as they go. We talked about the difference between measuring cups and measuring spoons, and she was interested in learning how to read the fractions on each and what those mean. When it came time to start cooking, she took time to measure everything and, although she was adamant that she do all the cooking herself, gave her sister a few turns mixing.

As the pizza cooked, she cleaned off the table and set it for everyone. When the pizza was done, she served us and grinned ear to ear with pride through the whole meal. Her first culinary success.