Friday, January 15, 2016

Your Kids Cooking: French Toast

I'm not much of a cook.

Mind you, I *can* cook, or at least I *could* cook, if it was something that I devoted myself to learning, but frankly, I'm more of the "Didn't I just cook you dinner yesterday?" type of parent than the "homemade dinner that we eat all sitting around the table together every night" type.

I do, however, want the kids to learn how to cook, and to learn to enjoy cooking, and since they're probably picking up neither from watching me half-heartedly slog about the kitchen three nights a week (and calling Matt to grab salads and deli chicken from the grocery store on the way home from work the other four nights), I've decided that this semester, we're going to study Home Ec.

Our textbook for this unit is Your Kids: Cooking, a book that was given to me for free by a publicist. The kids used it for the first time this week to make French toast, and they actually ended up with French toast!

Here are some of the lessons that they we learned:

1. You've got to buy your ingredients ahead of time. Is this a thing that all adults do? I go to the grocery store every now and then and buy the things that I think might be used in making meals, but then each day, I sort of just scan the kitchen and figure out what I can make with what I already have. Like... sandwiches.

But with this book, there's a section that has the recipe in brief, and you're supposed to look at that, then look at the ingredients list, and then go buy what you need so that you can make this recipe in a few days. Huh. Who knew?

Oh, and not eat it before you make the recipe. We had to buy bacon twice, on account of I cooked it all the day after I bought it, and then was like, "Crap! That was our French toast bacon, not our bacon and egg sandwich bacon!"

2. You've got to get out everything that you need ahead of time, and it's got to be the right stuff. Is this another thing that all adults do? Will did not want to gather all of the supplies before they begin, probably because she's been infected with my lazy "Okay, 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla... Where's the teaspoon? Where's the vanilla? Shoot, are we out of vanilla? That's okay, because I can't find the teaspoon, either. I wonder if a tablespoon of peppermint extract will work?" (Hint: it will not).

Getting out all of the supplies, too, was a good way to emphasize to her that you do actually need what the recipe calls for. For instance, Will grabbed a mixing bowl for the batter, and was not pleased when I insisted that the recipe clearly calls for a flat-bottomed bowl. She's super stubborn, and although I try to give her the freedom to do what she wants most of the time, sometimes I simply have to say, "Hey. You are going to do this thing the way that I am telling you to do this thing, or I will make bad things happen in your life." This was one of those times.

Math also tends to be one of those times, as does dinner, when the reality that she's basically feral and also tends to grow almost an inch a month is exposed by her desire to pretty much just tip the plate up to her face and inhale rather than, you know, use her fork or, like, chew.

3. You've got to know what you're doing before you start. I'm still not totally sold on this one, but the DVD that accompanies the book has the kids watch the process for each step before completing that step on their own. So, they had to watch the proper way to add and mix all the ingredients to make the French toast batter before they can start adding ingredients, themselves. This was a little slow for Will, BUT it included some helpful cooking tips that they we may not have known ahead of time, such as how to whisk until something is completely mixed, and how to hold the spatula so you can flip the bread.

Her face is probably too close to the burner, but the book didn't say not to put your face right next to the burner, so I think it's fine.

The one thing that I think I will note in the recipe book for next time is the amount of butter that's called for to grease the pan. I don't remember off-hand how much it was, but it was, I think, too much for our smallish pan, and so the French toast came out a little greasy.

To add to this meal, Syd also made the smoothie recipe that's included in the French toast chapter, and I made bacon in the oven. It was an awesome lunch!
Yes, those are dirty dishes in the background. There will never not be dirty dishes in the background.
Well, I say "lunch," but somehow it was after 4:00 pm by the time we sat down to eat our feast. We may have to work on meal timing a little bit more...

There are several more bonus recipes that are free for this chapter (although you have to pay for the bonus recipes for the other chapters--bummer!), so I think that we'll spend our Home Ec lesson next week trying some of them out, but after that?

Macaroni and cheese!


Tina said...

You had me cracking up repeatedly with this post, thank you!

Great job! That looks yummy :0)

If you find your french toast a little greasy next time, flop it on the paper bag (or paper towel) with the bacon. The paper might suck up a bit of the grease.

I sometimes will ask the family what meals they are in the mood for at the beginning of the week, buy the items needed for those meals, but then not want go through the effort to actually make said meals (no one ever asks for toast or cereal for dinner). I usually do the, "scan the kitchen," thing.

I do not usually get everything out ahead of time, unless Emma is helping. Other wise, it takes FOREVER for her to find what we need next. Although, if I am attempting to follow a new recipe, I might get everything out ahead of time.

Meal timing is hard! And probably even more so when there are so many cooks in the kitchen :0)

Can't wait to see what other feasts you ladies come up with!

julie said...

Ooh, I LOVE that paper bag idea for the French toast!

A natural grocery opened up a few months ago, and it's exactly on Matt's way home from work, AND it has a salad bar that's reasonably priced, bakery baguettes, and deli chicken that's also pretty reasonable. Honestly, it makes it VERY hard to think of reasons why I should actually cook dinner anymore.