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August 10th, 2010

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. Please leave any comments there.

It is a little-known fact that the entire decline and fall of the Roman Empire can be traced back to the their failure to teach their kids to cook.  Instead of learning to make their own pasta, the layabout sons and daughters of the Empire just sat in their nice Roman baths, saying things like “Hey Spartacus, nice javelin” and “Yo, Farticus, this isn’t the hot tub – the sulfur baths are down the hall” and generally soaking up the minerals in the natural hot springs.  You can still see them today – the ones that soaked up too many minerals became the statues we see in Rome now.  It was the old version of the tanning bed.

But anyway, there they all were, those Romans, soaking and bubbling and having their slaves peel their grapes and feed them, and the ones who learned anything from their parents learned how to live big, bold lives in public, keeping well documented records in public places of all the stupid things they did and said to each other, so that one shining day, a man from Stratford on Avon might write about them and make them sound less mundane.   (Side note – does this mean that in 1200 years, someone will write successful plays based on the antics of Perez Hilton and ONTD?  “OMG!”) 

But they couldn’t cook, and when the Mongols hit the fan, Roman kids were left to fend for themselves (the parents being either dead, peeling grapes for the Mongols, or turned to statues), and they were unsuccessful.  No cooking, no survival skills in the real world, no more Roman Empire.

To ensure that doesn’t happen here, we’ve started turning my sous chef loose in the kitchen.  The Human Tape Recorder can leverage her natural skills in the kitchen; tell her the recipe once and she’s got it forever, just like all the stuff you said that you didn’t think she could hear when you said it.  Thus far, she’s learned to make things she likes.  This is largely because SOBUMD and I are professionals when it comes to cooking with kids.  The conversation goes like this:

HTR:  I’d like some sugar cookies.
BUMD:  Kitchen’s that way, go to it.

I think this is a perfectly reasonable way to teach her to cook.  It also taught her the value of a good oven mitt, but that’s another story.  Yesterday, she added oatmeal-walnut chocolate chip cookies to her repertoire.  And they were good.

So the question I put to you, dear friend, fond relation, or Gentle Reader, is this: What are those dishes that children must be capable of cooking on their own, before they should be let out of the nest?  When they finally pack their shit and you convert that room into your pleasure dungeon like you’ve been talking about, what does that kid need to be able to cook – and cook well – to stop the Mongol hordes? 

We’ve got cookies.  What else?

Yep, looks like another post from the Big, Ugly Man Doll!