Dispensing Happiness

A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness.-Elsa Schiapirelli

That's me, the magical good cook.

Borrowing from my friend Dexygus, I've created my own food blog.

Read of my exploits in the kitchen! Salivate over the descriptions of fabulous desserts and savory meals I've concocted!

No, seriously...go ahead. It'll make my day.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Someone's in the Kitchen with Alex: Breakfast Muffins


I guess I've always had an interest in food, and cooking. I just didn't realize it until I was in my teens, and practically had to beg my parents to let me make dinner.

Unlike many of my food blogging friends, I don't have stories to share of baking cookies with my mom, or helping her put the finishing touches on a dish. She just never wanted her kids...or any one else...touching 'her stuff' while cooking.

But the need was there, and once I had the chance to cook, I never looked back.

I wanted Alex to have a better experience than I, so we've been including him in kitchen activities for years. From little things like dumping ingredients in bowls to rolling and cutting (with butter knives), Alex really knows his way around a kitchen, as well as a wide-range of ingredients. And he's definitely a little foodie: he takes veggie ham & Gruyere sandwiches to school, he pops edamame as a snack, and loves to eat the pickled ginger when we have sushi. He knows what nutmeg looks like, in it's 'nut' form, and is mighty handy with a food processor (but now knows not to poke it's blades!).

And he has cookbooks. He loves them. He sometimes chooses his cookbooks as his bedtime story!

He has a couple of them from Mollie Katzen, another from Donna Hay, and since Christmas, the Ratatouille: What's Cooking? A Cookbook for Kids book.

We've spent hours going over the recipes (he gets a kick out of Oh La La French toast), and deciding what we were going to make first, when the holidays were finally over.

We picked the Breakfast Muffins, and that's what Alex & his dad have been eating all week.

It's a pretty standard muffin recipe: dry ingredients and wet ingredients meet, mingle and bake. But what interesting about these was their final appearance. They formed not as traditional muffins, but almost like popovers. Straight up, and nearly flat.

They were dipped in butter and rolled in cinnamon sugar, and are apparently very good.

Alex had great fun adding ingredients, sifting and mixing, and coating the muffins in the sugar mixture. And he clearly feels a great sense of pride in knowing he helped make breakfast for the week. And I know I'm giving him irreplaceable and invaluable experiences and memories: one day, twenty or thirty years from now, Alex will be standing in his kitchen with his own child saying 'this is the way your Grammy taught me to make this'.

Nothing could make me happier.

Today's the last day to get on the guest list for this month's Blog Party: Veggie-Friendly. Just get those meat-free appetizers & appropriate drinks to me today!

But wait...there's more!

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12 Thoughts for food:

At 4:15 PM, Blogger Nupur said...

You rock, Alex! What a great post, Stephanie. I am obsessed with Katzen's kids' cookbooks (love all 3 of them) and am always giving them as gifts. Recently, I gave one to a 7-yr old niece. She made scrambled eggs using a recipe from the book and I thought I would burst with happiness :D
Alex is learning such an important life skill at this early age.

At 6:42 PM, Blogger Lara said...

That's cool! I was recently thinking about the memories I have of canning fruit and jam with my mom. I think this is the year to start some of those traditions with my daughter (age 4), and I am so excited! Those muffins look delicious!

At 10:41 PM, Blogger Emma Nowell said...

Thats awesome, Alex will have lot's of great food memories I'm sure. I only hope when I have kids they take such an interest in cooking- I would be in heaven! Thanks for sharing.

At 11:50 AM, Blogger April said...

This is so cool! I didn't have the time in the kitchen either growing up. My sons really don't want to be in the kitchen,I really wish that they would, but my daughter is in the kitchen with me all of the time. My kids call my mom Grammy, too.

At 10:16 PM, Anonymous Katherine C. said...

It's awesome that Alex likes cooking with you! I credit my mom (and living in a dull small town) with sparking my interest in the kitchen and all the good things that come out of it! (Fortunately she didn't mind a helping hand, tho I'm not sure how helpful I was with the dishes.)
It amazes me that many people feel intimidated making pie crust, which I find one of the easiest things to do--but I think that is due to growing up in a pie family!
Alex is getting a great start in the basics of cooking and tasting, and should be a confident cook in his adulthood. It all started with Pommes Alex!

At 9:13 PM, Anonymous Mrs. L said...

Isn't that the coolest little cookbook? No kids, but I cook out of it :)

At 3:29 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Hi Nupur!

I think we only have two, but they bring us no end of delight.

At 3:30 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Lara; this is definitely the time to start. It's a good age...they so desperately want to help, don't they?...and you'll be providing her with so much more than simple cooking skills.

At 3:32 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Hi Emma!

I think that, if food and cooking are as much a part of your life and family as playing and watching tv, they'll certainly want to help mommy in the kitchen!

And as cooking has become, to use Matt's term, a 'spectator sport' for so many, any kid we bring up with those skills is set for life!

At 3:34 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

April, the boys may not want to be actively involved, but no doubt they'll look back fondly on all those memories of you and their sister cooking up yummy things for them.
So many families live off take-out and frozen foods; just providing them with a home-cooked meal practically sets you on a dais!

At 3:37 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Hi Katherine!!!!

That Alex loves food and cooking this much brings pure happiness to us both, believe me. He 'helps' plan the grocery list, often getting the bulk of it right, too.
He helps with the dishes...taking things to the kitchen when dirty or helping Matt unload, he loves grocery shopping, and most of all, making food. As we often say, he is soooo our kid!
Pie crust is one thing I still fight with, I'm afraid. I'm getting better, but then I've only been doing it a short time. No one really made pies in my families, and with the exception of apple, Matt's not really into them, either.
But like anything else, I keep at it till I've mastered...or at least feel comfortable with...it!

At 3:38 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Hi Mrs. L!

Yes, it is. I want to make so many of the dishes in there, Alex may have to work to keep up with me!


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