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Make lemonade, or lemon popsicles, or salad with a lemon dressing, or paneer cutlets.
Everyone takes a vacation in May. And yes, that includes the super important people in our lives. You guessed right. I am talking about maids, cooks and drivers. There is a mass exodus from the city to the gaon on trains and buses choked with people.
Being a SAHM, I look after the kids myself. But I do have a cook, since I have 2 kids under the age of 5. I have always been worried about getting the daily cooking done without burning something, because one of them might require my attention.
But to my surprise, we managed very well for 10 days. I always knew the older one's fascination for cooking. I think she has inherited that from me. I love to cook too and frankly, I miss doing it now. Whenever I could make some time to cook, while the younger one slept, my older daughter watched with great interest and helped me out in any little way she could. I wouldn't let her do much, though. I had the usual maternal fears of her cutting herself or burning herself.
Last week, since I had to spend a lot of time cooking, I was worried how I would manage. But then I decided to see it as an opportunity. I let my older one try her hand at cutting slices of baby corn. I was surprised to see how good she was at it. She cut them in to thin, fairly equal sized pieces, just the way I showed her. She also did a great job shelling peas. She did the cutting and shelling job all by herself with great concentration in the kitchen. I have never seen her so focussed on anything before. She took a while, but she did it really well. In the mean time I could attend to the younger one.
Then I set the baby corn to marinate in vinegar and salt for about half an hour. The older one asked me what marinating was, and I explained how marinating allowed the ingredients to soften and soak up spices so the food turned out more flavourful. The two sisters played a game together as we waited. While they were still busy playing, I quickly set some khichadi to cook in the rice cooker and sauted the mildly spiced baby corn and matar.
The older one was so proud of the food she helped cook, she ate a lot of it with a big smile on her face.
Over the next few days the older one became an expert at making a tomato cucumber salad with a lemon dressing. After I peel the cucumber, she makes all of it by herself. She chopped capsicum, while I chopped onions. She even stir fried, onions and capsicum spiced with cumin under my supervision. This side dish is a staple at our house.
To beat the heat we made lots of lemon popsicles, particularly since she had figured out how to cut lemons. She has also become pretty good at operating the mixer and helps me make pasta sauce and dosa batter.
We made baked paneer cutlets too. She was fascinated to see, how adding lemon drops to hot milk causes it to curdle in to paneer. We strained out the paneer using a muslin cloth. Then she had great fun mashing ginger garlic paste and salt into the paneer and kneading the whole ting thoroughly till it achieved a dough like consistency. She observed that it felt like play dough so we made cutlets of funny shapes.
Now that the cook is back we don't have to cook. But we are still going to prepare one interesting dish every afternoon for an evening snack. It is the perfect activity to engage my daughter in this summer.
I noticed that all this chopping and kneading dough has improved her control over the pencil too. Awesome side effect!
So these summer holidays KhulJayeBachpan, to helping our kids find their passions, and giving them the opportunity to grow as they have fun and take pride in their abilities