For some reason when my son refers to himself by using this sentence, I can’t help but think of the Beatles, “I am the Walrus”.
It has taken me becoming a mom to actually become a somewhat decent cook. The kitchen was never my favorite place to be, the work was just too overwhelming, one slight screw up with a recipe and the meal was a loss, the pressure was just too much. My husband; however, loves the kitchen. He’s a mechanical engineer, but would love to be a chef in his own restaurant.
On our second date, he cooked for me. It was wonderful and he’d used no recipe. He’s the type to open a fridge, throw a bunch of stuff together and then make the most magnificent meal you’ve ever tasted. A few weeks later, with my room mate out of town, I decided to make a romantic dinner at home for my boyfriend (soon to be husband). I went easy…spaghetti, but decided to make my mother’s homemade sauce which required an all day cooking.
My husband ate the entire dinner. It wasn’t until after, as I was cleaning the kitchen, when he asked me about the sauce. I walked him through the entire recipe, and then he asked about the grease from the meat. What did I do with it? I stared at him a bit dumbfounded. Grease? The recipe never mentioned grease. What was he talking about? Basically those are the exact words I used with him. It was then that he grabbed the pot of sauce and showed me the film over the top of it. Oops. From that point forward in our relationship, I stayed out of the kitchen.
Flash forward a few years. I’ve left my corporate America job to stay home with our son, Davey. Whether it be out of necessity, guilt, or a desire to be better mom and wife, I learned how to cook. I’m no Rachel Ray or Bobby Flay. I can’t just whip things up. I do have to follow a recipe, but I’ve actually become somewhat decent at cooking, actually I’m probably a step above decent.
The great thing about me learning to cook is that Davey has always been very hands on with me in the kitchen. This year for Christmas, he received his own personal set of cooking utensils, and he knew exactly what each was to be used for. He doesn’t like the term chef, but instead prefers to call himself Cooker Man.
Over our past couple of years in the kitchen, I’ve observed a few things with Davey. This is probably the one activity he focuses on the most. It’s the one activity where he awaits instructions, doesn’t trudge ahead. It’s the one activity where he’s very intent on the task at hand. He follows the rules and order of the ingredients. He’s cautious, walking through his checklist when operating the stove. He doesn’t try to touch a knife, instead just leaving it alone. And he has such pride in his work. At 4 years old, he’s attempting to beautifully plate the food. “It’s in the presentation, mom,” he once said to me. I didn’t know that he knew what the sentence meant.
He questions different ingredients, asking about their tastes and then determining if they would go well together. I literally watch as he looks off into space and contemplates the combinations of different ingredients. I can see the wheels turning inside his brain. Days when he becomes so inquisitive and contemplative, I find myself forgetting that he’s only 4 years old.
A few days ago, I commented to him that I didn’t know how to make my own eggs until I was in college. He’s already learning how to properly make an omelet, which is good because it means I’m also learning how to properly make one as well. Our time in the kitchen has been invaluable. We learn together, we encourage each other, and at times he manages to show me a thing or two. I learn more about him when we’re in the kitchen. He loves to tell stories of the day, what he did at school, who is friends are, and so forth.
My little Cooker Man is becoming quite the pro and I’m proud of him. Who knows? He may be the Doser to open his own restaurant and be the head chef.