Zippers and buttons clank against the metal drum of the dryer: snowpants tumbling after a morning romp in fresh snow. Our eight year old daughter, her hair a stringy mess of snow-wet tangles, blows on a pot of boiling water, trying to make the starchy foam go down after adding a cup of dry elbow noodles. Our ten year old son forks the scrambled egg she made him. “Since eggs are better when they’re hot, will you watch the noodles while I eat this?” he asked her.
It is Tuesday. A school day. I look out the window and watch snow fall.
Now they both peer into the boiling pot. They wear pajamas at lunch time. He is teaching her how to cook pasta. After – after I empty the dishwasher then reload it – I will make hot cocoa while I grind nuts for almond butter, then scrape the food processor and grind nuts for nutella; I’ll only have to wash the bowl and blades once if make the butters back to back.
I sit at the table eating a lettuce wrap with my left hand and writing with my right. A tomato slips out the end of my wrap and splats onto my plate. Our daughter groans when I ask if they’ve grated Parmesan for their noodles. “Well, you don’t have to have Parmesan,” I say. She slumps her shoulders and stomps to the cabinet where we keep the box graters. She sticks her lip out. “I want Parmesan,” she says as she jangles metals together in the cabinet, “I just don’t want to grate it.”
Welcome to the world, kid.
Our son stands on a stool and stirs the pot with a wooden spoon. Steam rises in front of his red, snow-play cheeks. The window next to him fogs up in the corners; beyond the glass panes are white-covered cars, a line of white along the top rail of the park’s split rail fence, sticky clumps of white on twiggy tree limbs.
Our son lifts a noodle from the steaming pot with his wooden spoon, steps down from the stool, and walks to the kitchen sink where he runs cold water over the macaroni spiral. He tastes it and says, “Mom, the noodles are ready. Will you come pour them out for us?” That’s the one step I’m still uneasy about: our eight- or ten-year old carrying a pot of boiling water across the kitchen and pouring its heavy, hot load into a colander. I set down my pen and my lettuce wrap, remove the napkin from my lap, and drain the pasta for them.
He takes over then, spooning noodles into bowls, drizzling olive oil, bringing his sister’s portion to her at the table. The kitchen counter is strewn with Parmesan cheese shreds, measuring cups, pots, pans, the tub of spreadable butter, a macaroni box. A dry elbow crunches under my slipper, then another. Parmesan curls litter the floor.
One thing at a time. I’ll teach them how to cook, then I’ll teach them how to clean.
Our children have finished their plates and await their hot cocoa. Soon, after the floor is swept, and the counters wiped, and the dishwasher is running (again), we will pull downy pants on, hot from the dryer, and we will traipse out the door to go sledding.
This is my entry for the WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge: Lunch Posts.
5 thoughts on “An unexpected lunch”
I love the pacing and imagery of this story. My son is about the same age as yours. I’m also trying to give him more responsibility. He can crack an egg better than me. Now if I can just get him to pay attention at school… Thank you for this beautiful glimpse into a lunch time snow day.
Thanks Jenifer! We will be working next on teaching them how to cook dinner for us…
Thanks for sharing…very enjoyable family meal and cooking. Good they’re both learning to cook. Yes, the clean up part will get there. It’s taken me many years to get better at the clean up as I go part and I’m grown…lol, but I love to cook.
I know, I don’t want to kill their eagerness to cook by making them also clean up… yet. We’ve got a few years to get to that, or like you said, maybe they’ll be grown before that happens.
A million mom points for you!! Well done!
Comments are closed.