I Can Cook!
It was one of those lazy Sunday mornings. We were watching kids TV, a British show called, “I Can Cook,” in which a perky (they always are) TV presenter and a few stage kids make a meal together.
They make food together, and there is never any fighting or tantrums. Then they all eat the same meal and talk about how much they enjoyed it. They use words like “delicious” and “scrumptious” that make me think they are indeed child actors reading from a script written by a 40 year-old woman. But I digress.
Cubby was riveted as he curled up with me on our oversized bean bag chair. Pudding actually put down her iPad to watch. The presenter and child actors made it look so easy that they actually tricked me into thinking this was something I could do with my kids.
A little later that day we’d collected all the ingredients to make cheese and vegetable pasties. I asked the kids if they wanted to cook like on the show, and was greeted with an enthusiasm rarely seen outside of all things Hello Kitty.
Cubby, my little literalist, decided he was going to be Arthur, one of the stage kids on the show. On I Can Cook, the presenter began by sprinkling some flour on the cooking mats for each child, as they carefully coated them in preparation for the pastry. We began by recklessly spreading said flour all over our clothes, hair, the floor, and even (in Cubby’s case) up his nose. We repeated step one, and this time I did not turn my back to put the flour away, and it mostly stayed on the table. Later I would come to regret not immediately putting the flour away, but I’d learn that lesson later.
Next came rolling out the pastry. In I Can Cook, each little chef has their own perfectly-sized utensils, and I think that is why there isn’t a blood bath on the show, which is my kind of reality TV. In our house, we have just the one rolling pin, which is great for adults. Actually, we may have a kids rolling pin that is gunked up from when I made play dough wrong and could never get it off again. But I digress.
Taking turns is almost as difficult for my children as sharing, so here I knew I had no chance of success. But nobody was hit with the actual rolling pin, so we somehow made our way through Step 2. Simple step 3 was the not-so-simple task of gently prodding the pastry.
This time I had a fork for each child. What I didn’t have was kids with the ability to grade their pressure. Instead of gentle prodding which doesn’t quite pierce the pastry- fairy steps in the words of Perky Presenter- we made big giant troll holes, which we then had to reseal, roll out the pastry again, fight over the rolling pin again, and repeat. So eventually we kind of, in a fashion, sort of accomplished step 3.
Foolproof stage four was ripping the spinach. Pudding loved this task- she loves a good rip. Cubby’s fine motor skills weren’t up to the task, and he very quickly tired of this job, trying to pass of whole leaves of spinach as ripped up. If this kid doesn’t become a lawyer, I’m not sure what he’ll do with his skills.
Then we get to the fun part: filling our pastry. I’d pre-made the ratatouille filling, so the kids just had to spoon it on, add their torn-up spinach, and sprinkle in the cheese. Cubby was good with all of this.
Pudding, however, does not do cheese. “You must not eat cheese, “ she likes to solemnly intone. Now she was faced with a dilemma: if she added the cheese, her mother would try to trick her into eating it, which she can’t do. If she doesn’t, she will miss the tactile sensation of (rolling, squeezing, and then ) sprinkling cheese, and she wouldn’t be making the pasties just like in the show. In fairness, we also hadn’t grown our own spinach in our hippy garden, or collected a salary for our efforts, but I digress.
She made the first one with no cheese, but then opted to conform to our pro-cheese agenda. I allowed this, against my better judgment, as I thought I was in with a chance of getting her too eat cheese. When will I learn?!
Of course, we completely overstuffed the pasties, but that was okay. In our house, we believe pasties come in all shapes and sizes. We’re rebels like that.
In 15 minutes they were cooked, and 10 minutes after, I deemed them ready to eat. They weren’t. They were like molten lava inside. We all had burnt tongues that made us mad at pasties. But they were so “scrumptious” and “delicious” that we ate them soon after.
At least Cubby and I did. Pudding happily ate one until she encountered some cheese, then ripped them apart to try to pull out the offensive ingredient.
But, as Cubby announced just like those pesky paid-up members of Equity- “I Can Cook.” I Can! Even with my spectrummy pair helping out. And, you know, they tasted SO good that I might even do it again. But no cheese this time!
So we might watch that show again. It isn’t as easy as they make it look, but we did have a lot of fun and practice some skills. Shame we didn’t have anybody filming though- our surreality TV is far more entertaining with a not-so perky presenter and the quirkiest of kids.