Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bon Appetit!

I'm actually blogging because I just finished watching a movie about blogging. Tonight Little Savage and I had the place to ourselves and we watched Julie and Julia, which is the parallel story of 1) the creation of Julia Child's famous cookbook and 2) a blogger from New York who attempts to cook her way through it in the span of one year.

Little Savage loved it. And not just because he wishes to be a Great Chef and has made several of the recipes in this cookbook himself (Crepes, Potage Parmentier, Sauce Hollandaise, Coq au Vin, Poulet aux Herbes de Provence, Omlettes, Quiche come to mind.) We cuddled on the couch and referred occasionally to to book to confirm that, yes, we had the very same recipe and could make it ourselves if we want. Sharing the movie and engaging in conversation over it was simply delightful.

While he seemed very interested in trying several of the dishes he saw in the film, he informed me that he is definitely not interested in making any sort of meat Aspic and agrees that neither their creation nor their consumption are essential experiences for a well-lived life. He was quick to notice when Julie had the same piece of cookware Julia had, and he made note of the fact that one must dry the meat first and not crowd the mushrooms if they are to brown properly.

I meant to get his take on the whole Killing Live Lobsters part ("Lobster killer... qu'est-ce que c'est?") His love of cooking is rivaled only by his love for animals - but Savageman got home and put him to bed before we had the chance to really discuss it. Which is probably for the best. Lobsters are pretty expensive, and when the child gets on a "kick" he really goes hog-wild. He'll be asking me to pick up a lobster every time we're at the store - if, of course, he can reconcile himself with killing the things and isn't attempting to keep them in the bathtub as pets.

(Middle, by the way, just informed me that killing the lobsters would be impossible. He would keep them as pets. Or have nightmares about the lobsters picking him up and putting him in a pot. Guess that's out of the question... He's trying to get me to promise not to ever try it while he's living here. Like with a pinky-swear and everything. Sigh...)

Having immersed himself in this activity, he has developed an interesting vocabulary, and it has likely shaped his sensory experience of the world. He's probably the only kid his age ever to pick up one of those nasty stink bugs and sniff it, only to report - in all seriousness, "It smells kind of like cilantro. I actually don't mind it." We were eating something recently and he remarked, "The ginger gives it sort of a bite." His favorite Christmas present - the one he wrote to Santa about - was an egg poaching pan. All very strange things for a kid who would like everyone to think that he's actually 5, has little to no attention span for regular schoolwork, and who just recently started reading and saying the "s" sound. To be perfectly honest, I think the only reason he finally decided to learn to read is that I started refusing to read recipes to him and he had to do it himself.

In any case, I'm thrilled that my young child (who has always seemed, in every other way, so very young for his age) is becoming so well-versed in the culinary arts. He chooses the most challenging recipes to try (homemade croissants and puff pastry, for example), he faithfully tunes into America's Test Kitchen on PBS, he whips up a quiche or eggs Benedict in a flash, and he is constantly sending me up to the store to pick up this ingredient or that for him. I just do what he wants - I'm rarely disappointed with the result.

Tomorrow, we will be experimenting with phyllo pastry for the first time. Spanakopita. Should be fun. One very nice side effect of this experience is that he is pushing me out of my own culinary comfort zone, if only because I don't want to set the example of laziness or shying away from a challenge. There's also the pride factor - I can't very well claim it's too difficult if an 8 year old seems to think he can do it. His skills will surpass my own by the time he's 12.

Which is just fine with me.