Saturday, February 27, 2010

necessity is the mother of homemade

When you think about the history of crafting and the myriads of inventive food recipes, textiles, clothing and furniture, and so much more, you probably think that necessity is the mother of invention. In this home, however, there is not much of that kind of creative genius going on. There is however, a lack of pre-packaged variety and some serious enjoyment of time well-spent in the kitchen. I enjoyed cooking before moving to the other side of the globe. But since arriving here, I've found myself seeking out the means to making a host of items I never even considered before. 

Noodles would be on that list. I remember watching my favorite Italian kitchen guru, Lydia from the PBS cooking network whip her way through pasta making like it was easier than boiling water. It looked fun, time-consuming, and maybe the sort of thing you would do if you were trying to be ultra-homemakey or a serious gourmet cook (the kind that comes home from a glamorous day working uptown, pours a glass of wine and whips up something from the latest issue of Martha's-Awesome-Recipes-with-Impossible-to-get-Ingredients). 

I have to be honest and say; I enjoy cooking, I wish I was awesome, I wish I made things form scratch purely to make them organic or whole-wheat or what have you, but often it is purely from necessity. In a way, this has made me grateful for the inconvenient situation we can sometimes feel like we are in. It has made me make more, think harder, get creative, and enjoy the process of the making as much as the eating.

And it has of course involved more hands than mine. If you spend more than five minutes doing something with extra little people around you all day, you will inevitably find them doing it as well. It is endlessly interesting to see the way a different makeup in a different set of limbs and hands and head of hair will lead to different interests. 

The oldest loves to think hard, reason like a lawyer, and plan plan plan. The Busy little Scout likes to climb on the table and somehow stretch her arm out like Gumby to grasp whatever it is your making that you thought you had placed out of her reach. And my cozy, quiet, curly haired second-born loves to help me cook. He asked me the other day, during our noodle adventure, "Mama, why do you like to make food?" After talking for probably too long, I then asked him why he liked to help me and he said "because you need me to!" I really do think he believes that all our loaves of bread would not make it without his 3 year old kneading expertise. 

Necessity means that it took one day to make the noodles, and the following day to make the broth from scratch, as well as a loaf of braided friendship bread. We ate it all in under 30 minutes, but surprisingly it didn't bother me... we had fun along the way and those moments of making were just as important as the meal we sat down to in the end.

Her hands found their way into nearly every picture. First the salad, then the soup, and then...

...two big smacking bites right out of the loaf (can you see them?) I guess I could have put her in her chair while I took the pictures, or in her bed for a few minutes, but I didn't think of that until I wrote it just now.

And just for fun, a pic of my proud boy after helping with yet another floury project. Who likes to eat mouthfuls of flour? Do you? Do your kids? Are mine not well fed?

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