I still remember how difficult it was for my mom to get me to cook a decent meal. I never saw the need because she was always around to cook us a feast. I took her for granted.
After many failed attempts, she figured it was better this way. Getting me into the kitchen meant a lot of headache for her. So she tasked me with the cleaning up after cooking. It was a good arrangement. We were both happy.
But she was smart. She let me think I won the battle but in reality it was her winning the war.
She’d get me to wash up alongside her cooking. While cooking, she used to get me to stir or add in the ingredients and watch over the food while she quickly grabbed something important.
My brain was unconsciously absorbing all this details.
Or at other times she’d get me to translate an English chef. Which meant I had to sit and watch the cooking shows.
Once again my brain was unconsciously absorbing all the details.
It took a long while to unlock what had been stored, unconsciously. But when I did manage to, it was as if I had been cooking for years.
I’m still not as good cook as my mom but I’m able to tell when a dish is coming together. I’ve learned a few important tricks in ensuring I’m able to serve a decent meal.
Over time, my cooking skills grew. It was an easy start because unknowingly, I somehow knew what to do when I cooked something. It almost felt familiar.
So now I’m doing the same with my daughters. Just like me, they despise being told what to do. It has to be their idea for anything to succeed.
Today, my twean decided to make mac and cheese. Something she saw on Instagram.
I’m glad she’s beginning to find joy in cooking. For a start, she’s doing so much better than I was at her age.
Whenever my mom wasn’t around, I’d had to depend on Maggi (instant noodles). It wasn’t a bad choice but everyone knows how unhealthy Maggi can be, if eaten regularly.
I’m glad her cooking vocabulary is much larger than mine and has more words than just Maggi.
To showcase her food vocabulary let’s check out today’s recipe. It was a simple feat.
It’s something young kids can whip up in less than half hour. It may not get 5 stars on taste but sure as hell beats eating instant noodles. And the best part, it can be made in one pot. So less cleaning and washing up.
To make this one-pot Mac and cheese;
Ingredients: serves 4
- 2 tablespoon of butter
- 3 tablespoon of plain flour
- 1 cups of milk
- 1 teaspoon each of Cayenne/paprika powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- 1 teaspoon of mustard paste or turmeric powder
- 2 cups of water
- Enough elbow pasta for 4 serving
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh/dried parsley
In a deep pan, heat butter and add in the flour. Cook on low heat for a couple of minutes. Then add half the milk and stir with a whisk to remove lumps. Add the rest of the milk and keep stirring the mixture. (She struggled because the flour tends to clump up together and required some elbow grease and prior cooking skills to turn it lump free).
Add in the powders and mustard, and stir to combine. Add water and throw in the uncooked pasta. Over low heat, gently cook the pasta, continuously stirring, for 8-10 minutes.
Once the pasta is cooked, put in the shredded cheese and parsley. Give it a good stir and serve immediately.
Any leftover should be immediately refrigerated. To heat this up, you’ll need to cook over low heat and add some water or milk to loosen the pasta.
Hope you’ll find this as useful as it has been for me. Seriously, this simple plain dish is so much better, nutrients wise, than instant noodles that comes in a packet.
This dish a definitely a hit among young kids. So let your little ones try this and share with us how did it turn out for you.
Happy cooking with the kids.