My second daughter has bought only two books in her life, that I can recall. And they both relate to the cast of Supernatural. One is a group memoir. The other is a cookbook by Misha Collins and his wife.
Now Collins brings together two things my daughter loves: food and games. The games aren’t of the video or board type. They are of the “let’s have an adventure” type.
And the food adventures that Misha has with his kids range from the ridiculous and charming to the so-unappealing-he-feels-he-must-warn-you-not-to-eat-it.
The book is no ordinary cookbook, because, besides (mostly) healthy recipes he’s found work for the whole family, he and his wife also chose to include their kids’ creations. This is a part of their food lifestyle as a whole. They decided long ago to let their kids do some of the shopping and cooking. The kids always eat what they make.
One of the single best memories I have from my own childhood is a day when my mom got adventurous during the making of banana bread. She dared us to drop the egg from the spoon, from a higher and ever higher level above the bowl, to see who could drop it and keep the yolk intact despite the increasing height. Eventually, on one of her turns from a great height, she accidentally dropped the whole egg onto the table. We were in hysterics over this. It’s such a great memory.
While in some ways food certainly is serious business, our approach to it can get to be too serious, and this is no fun for anyone and only assures resistances where there needn’t be.
I’m not so much the type to drop eggs from great heights, but I do love a good “what can we cook from the pantry in the basement?” adventure.
During the COVID19 quarantine, this challenge has only increased in level. The key has been making it a fun adventure. The other day, my first daughter, who’s never liked olives, made a tabouleh recipe with a lot of substitutions and a lot of ingredient absences. Notably, her recipe did include the dread olives. She ate it happily. Or maybe she ate it adventurously. And I loved it.
Perhaps you recall “ants on a log” (raisins on peanut-butter-slathered celery)? In my house, we also make “banana bites,” which are bananas cut into smaller pieces, topped with peanut butter. What healthy food adventure can you dream up (or recall) and put in a poem? Go ahead. Be brave. And have fun.
Once, when a batch of pumpkin muffins
went terribly wrong,
it occurred to me that there is less
right and wrong where cooking is concerned
and there is more need for muffin marketing,
as a rule for adventures of all kinds.
I put the misfit muffins on a plate and announced,
“Girls, behold the new pumpkin pie muffins!”
And since that day, they’ve been wishing
for more muffins with pumpkin pie surprises
in their middles.