Friday, June 25, 2010
Do You Know the Muffin Man
I suspect that when Sophia looks back at this summer, she'll remember it as the summer she learned to cook. Or more precisely, the summer her mother stopped giving a damn. The poor kid is only eleven and I've kind of checked out. Not that she minds. As long as she can make herself a grilled cheese, she's cool with it.
This isn't really a new dynamic for us. She's been a latchkey kid since she was too young to be. By the time she was able to stand on a chair to turn on the stove, open a Campbell's soup can and empty the contents into a pan, she's been ready to be on her own. Sadly, Georgia does not issue work permits or drivers' licenses to six year olds.
So far this summer Phia has mastered cake from a mix, homemade buttercream frosting from the Wilton recipe, grilled cheese sandwiches, beef and broccoli stir fry and pie crust. "Mom, you have to stay out of the kitchen while I do this" has become the rule. Fine with me. I've got porn to surf. Besides, she can read. She can follow a recipe. She doesn't need me hovering about. And when she does need me, we yell back and forth across the house, but I do not cross the threshold of the kitchen. It's like a Gordon Ramsey scene without all the swearing and ego. Mostly.
"Try this." She thrust a buttercream covered beater into my face mid-twitter. I hit tweet and took a lick.
"Excellent." And it was. Sweet, but not too sweet. The consistency was perfect.
"Can I frost the cake now?"
"Knock yourself out, sister." I took another lick.
"Mom, when can I learn to do the filling for a pie or a cake from scratch?"
"Oh, we still have July, right?" This is me trying to wiggle out of commitment.
"Yes, but you promised. You said..."
I held up my hand to cut her off. "I don't remember that. And if I did say, it was probably while I was still sharing the office with the litter boxes. The contact high from cat urine makes me say all kinds of things I don't mean."
Her face drooped. Then she got an idea. Logic. Yeah, logic works with me.
"Please? What good is it to know how to make a pie crust if I can't make the filling?" She parried.
"Good point. But at least you have the satisfaction of knowing that you can do something lots of adults can't do." I dodged.
She crossed her arms over her chest and stared at me with those root beer eyes. If logic wouldn't do the trick, then brown-eyed manipulation would.
I hate her sometimes.
"Fine. This weekend. Okay? We'll make another chocolate chess pie. Or how about a chocolate cream pie like Grandma makes?"
"Good. Okay. And the cake from scratch?"
"Look, let's not push it. We have five more weeks before school starts."
We're still working on the clean as you go method, but good for her. She's going to be far more self-sufficient than those other two layabouts. That's partly my fault. I'm such a control freak I didn't invite them into the kitchen as much. Come to think of it, though, Sophie invited herself. And when I attempted to shoo her out, she resisted. She's always been determined to learn her way around the kitchen. Before she was tall enough to reach the counter, I'd have barely said the words "Ah, not right now, sweetie, why don't you go watch...." before she was standing on a chair next to me, her little apron tied around her waist.
At least when she informs me that she plans to live with me forever, I know that means I'm set for desserts.