by Chef Steven Weinbaum
My mom was never a blur to me. She always seemed to busy running errands
in the neighborhood. Taking my sister here and my brother there. Shopping for this and that. She was always in some community organization and doing for them as well. But to me she was never a blur. She let me hang out with her.
I remember my mom use to cook meals just about every day for the family. With everything else that was going on she always cooked. And there I was, in the kitchen hanging out with mom. I cherished those days. She started me out tearing lettuce leaves for salads. Now torn leaves are fashionable but then it was just a way for me to do the job without using a knife. I made the best salads.
As time went on and grew up a little she let me help with one of her “famous recipes”.
I remember the chopped liver she made for all the fancy holiday meals or when important
people were coming. She had this old fashion silver hand grinder that she forces the liver, onions, egg and her little secret ingredients through. Then there was the day she let me turn the handle on the grinder. I must have been about four or five but I felt as grown up and as accomplished as any chef. The chopped liver that night was mom and Steven’s famous chopped liver.
As time went on she taught me more about the foods she knew. She taught me about recipes and how to plan them. This was strategic thinking and problem solving. What she was really teaching me was how to think. But to me it was just hanging out with mom.
It has been many years since I have graduated from culinary school. My mother has past on for many years as well. Her memory and my vision of her is still strong. Not so much because she taught me this or help me with that, but because she let me hang out with her. She never kicked me out to watch TV or whatever to get me out of her hair. She found something for me to do with her in the same room.
So here is list of kitchen things that just about any kid from four or five years old can do to help you moms. Hey, I did it, so can your kids.
Tear lettuce leaves for a salad. Pick herb leaves off the stems. Measure with cups.
Stir, it is as simple as a wooden spoon and a bowl. My mom use to have me repeat recipes to her as she read them. Clean up. Simply put stuff in a trash bag.
Taste things. This always kept me interested.