Baking With Older KidsKelly Wickham
Thanks so much to the folks at Pillsbury for sponsoring this post and for providing Pillsbury products for me to have some fun with.
Everyone knows that cooking with young children is fun. Their excited little faces and eager hands to help are the stuff of mommy dreams. When all of my kids were little we set aside special times just to bake together. My eldest daughter, who is now 25, would try to get out all the cooking utensils and set up the kitchen to hint that she wanted to bake. It would have been much easier to get her an Easy Bake oven, but that was a luxury we couldn’t afford at the time. Now, she’s all grown up and living in her own house, but my sons are still at home. I miss having little ones who begged me to help out in the kitchen. We all love food and to eat, but the experience of doing the actual baking is a distant memory for me now.
There’s a whole other experience when you have teenagers. Who are boys. Who love to eat without pausing long enough to take in a breath of oxygen. Who don’t love to spend time in the kitchen except if it’s to lick the bowl.
Now that last part is the thing that kids of all ages love. I’ll just confess right here and now that the reason I do the baking is so that I CAN LICK THE BOWL WITHOUT INTERRUPTION.
They used to be young and cute and that was a long time ago. See? Cute. Young.
My sons are 16 and 20 and when I excitedly ask them to bake cookies with me they usually groan and turn on the angst and sigh, “Mom. Just call me when they’re done.”
Back when they were much younger they fought incessantly over who would be the one to crack the eggs. Is that a kid thing in every house? Because in our house there was elbowing and shouldering one another out to get to the counter to crack the eggs first. Of course, this is a learning process as eggshells always end up in the bowl (we usually crack them over a separate bowl in case there are bits that drop in). As they’ve gotten more involved in things, they just aren’t home to cook with me. When your children become mobile and have vehicles to move about, you rarely see them unless you do something like keep cookies and sweets in the house. (It helps when they have a strong sweet tooth!)
The only time this changes is when there is decorating to do to the cookies so I make frosting for them to frost the cookies. There is something magical about kids of all ages frosting cookies.
Need I mention the glorious wonders of frosting? Do I have to describe, at length, how joyous my life is with frosting in it or how it really does work better when you use your fingers? Have you already guessed while reading this that I have been into the frosting bowl and am a little more than hyped up on sugar?
The thing about kids getting older is that the magic is sometimes lost when you’re cooking. Neither of them asks if they can crack the eggs anymore because they’ve mastered it now and that’s evident by the fact that they make their own egg sandwiches every weekend for breakfast. Neither of them begs me to fill the cupcake pan because it’s lost its luster. And neither of them wanted to help me whip up a quick batch of cookies tonight after getting our Christmas tree set up in the corner.
But both of them were happy to play a few card games with The Cuban while I added milk to a mix of sugar cookies which I frosted. Between shouts and giggles I added more powdered sugar and asked, “Green? Should I do a green frosting?” and “How about purple? That’s a Christmas color, right?” The answers were pretty flip and quick since they were TOO BUSY TO COMMENT.
They weren’t too busy to eat them, though. I guess that’s a good part of baking with older kids, too. They’ll stick around long enough to eat all the baked goods you make them.
I’ll take what I can get. If that means they sit in the kitchen playing cards while I do all the work then so be it. Magical frosting will do that.