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Monday, July 16, 2007

Ratatouille, Tomato Soup, and Cake

Madison, Patrick, and Carter have been asking to cook dinner for us one night. They even went as far as getting the cookbook out to pick out their dishes. Madison decided to cook the main dish, Ratatouille. They couldn't believe that it was actually in the cookbook and wanted to try it out. Patrick wanted to make tomato soup and found a recipe for it. Carter took the easy way out and picked out a yummy looking boxed cake.
We finally went for the ingredients today. Even though they would be doing the cooking, I knew it would take an effort on my part to pull it together. Tonight, I was ready for the were they!

First, I set everything out for each one of them and hung their recipes up at their cooking stations. Just having all of the ingredients and cooking supplies out made it so much easier.

The big challenge was keeping everything moving at a pace that would ensure that everything was ready at the same time. It was also a challenge for me to step back and let them have it. I basically tried to be there to supervise the cutting up of the vegetables and to monitor the stove/oven use. I also helped them to understand the recipes...talked them through some of the harder parts. One highlight for me was when Madison helped Carter make his cake. I started out helping Patrick cut his vegetables up, so Madison supervised/helped Carter do the cake until I could help her. They did it completely on their own until it was time to put it into the oven. I was so proud of them.

Of course, they had to have a little taste here and there!!!

Finally, everything was ready and simmering at the same time. Carter waited until after we ate to finish his cake, so it would have time to cool. I threw some bread in as my contribution, then we were ready to set the table!

Everything tasted GREAT! I was really surprised that I liked the tomato soup. I was even more surprised that the kids ate the ratatouille. It had egg plant and squash in it, as well as tomatoes, which Carter doesn't normally want to eat. I think if I would have cooked the meal on my own and called them to eat it, they would not have been very excited about it. However, having cooked the meal themselves, they were willing to give it a try....and actually liked it! Jeff loved all of it as well.

After the dishes were done and our tummies were settled, we cut the cake. I had given Carter the tube of icing with the tip on it and let him decorate exactly how he wanted. Of course, he asked for the slice with the most decorating icing on it...and got it.

This was a great experience for all of us. The whole idea started when I read them a story one day during school about some children who were made to cook an entire meal on their own because they kept complaining of the meals that their Mother prepared for them. Of course, in the story the children were completely on their own and soon learned that there was a lot more to cooking a meal than they thought. I hope that, even though I helped them, that my kids learned the same lesson. Even more so, I hope they had as great a time as I did!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh definitely post the recipe!!
Looks like everyone had such a good time!

11:09 PM  
Anonymous Rich Ferguson said...


Wonderful post. Also, many thanks to leaving comments on my blogs at The Nervous Breakdown. Hope you're well, Rich F.

11:34 PM  
Blogger chandra said...

Great job! It all looks yummy! I keep saying I am going to do the same but haven't done it yet.

6:38 AM  
Anonymous Jenn said...

I just had the biggest smile on my face the whole time I was reading this post. It looks like everyone had such a great time. What a sense of accomplishment they must feel! I'm glad it all turned out great.

9:21 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

What fun!! I remember loving it when my mom would let me help her cook dinner. I'd get to pick the menu and everyone else had to do the dishes!

8:16 AM  

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