The Little Man made dinner tonight. Well. He had some help. The problem isn’t that he can’t cook. Rather the opposite. He’s an ambitious cook with a fair amount of training, not just from me, but taking cooking classes. He lacks the experience to know where his limits are, so he’ll bite off more than he can chew on a project. Case in point: eight pounds of chicken wings.
During the big grocery run – I try to make only one a week, for time and budgeting purposes – I picked up chicken drumsticks as the kid said he wanted to do chicken wings, but the stores I was at didn’t have any. Nope, he said, I’m doing wings. He wouldn’t accept substitutes. So he went and bought chicken on his way home from classes, and came home with eight pounds of chicken wings. “Mama… how do you butcher chicken wings for making wings?”
Sigh. It’s a skill he should learn. He knows how, now. At least, my way of popping a joint loose, then snipping with kitchen shears. He’s still working on other things, like eyeballing how much oil needs to go in the fryer. Along with timing a big meal, so everything is ready at the same time. Also, prepping as much as possible before the real cooking begins!
He decided he wanted to share this meal with friends, since we try to do a midweek meal for the people who don’t cook, or who live alone and don’t have much incentive to cook just for them. I’m delighted we’re doing that for several reasons, and had no problem with the Little Man opting to cook it himself. I volunteered to make cookies for dessert. I knew I’d also be called on to help with other things, so I sat and worked on my drawing at the bench in the kitchen. “Why are you in here? You can go away.”
“I’m here if you need me,” not looking up from the drawing tablet.
“Can you drain the potatoes…?”
I did eventually manage to finish the drawing. And he managed dinner. With only a little help and some advice and cross-ventilation to get the smoke out of the house.
The meal went off well, which is good because there was a small fire under the burner, a lot of mess, and frying chicken is, well, not a skill the Kid has mastered yet. Practice, yes? Practice. He fried up all the wings, plus the five pounds of drumsticks, and we feasted. He managed it with very little help from me, other than me taking all the side dishes off his hands to make sure they were done and on the table in a timely fashion. Also, there were leftovers, enough to send home with guests plus bags of (now frozen) wings for him to have quick and easy meals when he’s not in the mood to cook. I patted him on the shoulder at dinner, thanked him for cooking, and managed to break the entire table into laughter by following this up with a firm ‘you get to clean up after yourself!’
I’m happy to report that as I sit here writing this post, he is doing just that. He’s grown up, so much. Now, to teach him how to plan and execute a complex meal… Practice! we shall have people over again soon.