Ah, summertime and the living is easy. In between play dates, lazy afternoons at the pool, assorted day trips and movies, my son and I ducked into the local Barnes and Noble to escape the summer heat. Ignoring my gentle suggestions and the selections on his 6th grade reading list, my kid walked out of the book store with James Patterson’s Middle School, Get Me Out of Here! and. . . a sushi making kit.
My son loves sushi. Okay, technically he loves California rolls, which perhaps for the true sushi aficionado is not really considered sushi; like the fortune cookie, the California roll is an American invention. Created in the early 1970s by a sushi chef in Los Angeles, it consists of crab, avocado and cucumber wrapped in rice and nori (seaweed) and sprinkled with sesame seeds. But, I like to think of it as a gateway sushi – if he’s enjoying this now, maybe as he gets older he’ll move onto a tuna roll or some hardcore sashimi. Anything that expands a kid’s culinary horizons is fine by me, and $10 is a small price to pay for his delighted enthusiasm.
The Sushi Making Kit from Mud Puddle Inc. provides the essentials – recipe book, rolling mat, rice paddle, and two sets of chopsticks. Most of the ingredients are readily available at the supermarket in the Asian foods section, and I found the crab sticks at our neighborhood produce market. The sushi rice is easy to prepare, and once all the ingredients are cut up and the rice has cooled, you’re (literally) ready to roll.
My son quickly took charge, and following the easy instructions, here’s how it turned out:
Spreading the rice on the nori
Adding the filling
Roooolling along. . .
A little chunky but good!
Ready for slicing; he used a serrated knife
Ah, summertime – and the sushi is easy!
All photos courtesy of Mom Meets Blog
I’m standing at the kitchen counter about to start dinner. I open the cabinet to round up the ingredients for this evening’s meal and I see it, that seemingly innocent white-lidded jar, beckoning my attention. I look away and continue gathering my supplies, but its call is too great to ignore. I remove the Nutella from the cabinet and slowly twist off its lid. I open the drawer below and remove a spoon. I put the jar on the counter and hold it in place with one hand as I dip the spoon into the jar with the other, its contents yielding against the touch of the stainless steel. I raise the spoon to my lips, closing my eyes and inhaling its familiar, delicate fragrance. As it finds its way into my mouth, this intoxicating concoction slides off the spoon and onto my tongue, enveloping it like a silky blanket, the hint of hazelnut providing the perfect counterpoint to the smooth, velvety chocolate. I open my eyes and, staring into the cabinet, inspiration strikes – dare I take out the peanut butter? My taste buds shiver at the thought. No, I decide as my inner goddess pouts, that’s too much for now. “Perhaps another time”, I can almost hear the peanut butter grinning salaciously. I plunge the spoon into the jar again and again, greedily devouring the Nutella like a . . .
A small voice shakes me out of my reverie. “Is dinner almost ready?” my son calls out from the living room. I look down sheepishly at the jar and realize I’ve just consumed 600 calories worth of Nutella and we haven’t even had dinner yet. I put the jar down and knot my fingers on the counter, chastising myself for my loss of control. As I bite my lower lip, my subconscious smirks at me over her half-moon specs and clucks “A moment on the lips, no matter how sweet, a lifetime on the hips.”
I roll my eyes at her and angrily throw the spoon into the sink. I shove the jar back in the cabinet, vowing to never lose control like that again (at least until the next time I open the cabinet). Oh Nutella, you are a cruel master. . .
Photos courtesy of Pinterest and nutellachocolate.com
What have I done?
I know my 11-year-old son is a capable child. He likes to help his dad out at the store and recently our neighbors hired him to look after their cats while they are away on vacation. He does well in school, is a brown belt in karate, loves to play everything from “Bach Minuet in G Major” to “Moves Likes Jagger” on the piano, puts his dirty clothes in the hamper (mostly), keeps his room fairly neat, is always up and dressed for school on time, is helpful, polite, and is never ever sick at sea.
So I was a little thrown this morning when I found him looking at a YouTube video on how to make a bowl of cereal. Really?? He doesn’t know how to fix a bowl of cereal? How did this happen? I looked at the computer screen, fairly surprised that there must be other kids in the same situation judging from the variety of videos available on this subject.
While I admired his initiative to find an answer to his dilemma (is there anything you can’t learn to do via YouTube?) I wondered why he just didn’t ask me to pour him a bowl of cereal. The truth is, whenever he says “I’m hungry”, I jump like some Pavlovian dog, ready to fix him a snack or get him a drink or start dinner a little earlier. It’s well known that hearing your baby cry during the early weeks of life can cause a mother’s breasts to leak milk – his call for food just speaks to my primal instinct as a mom to make sure my baby is fed.
But the fact is, he’s not a baby anymore. He knows where the kitchen is, but thanks to me I realized that it’s a bit of a mystery to him how the food magically appears on a plate or in a bowl. It became obvious why he didn’t ask for my help. His quest to figure out how to fix his own breakfast is an assertion of his increasing self-reliance. He’s letting me know that he’s now capable of fixing his own breakfast/snack/whatever. Maybe next he’ll let me know that he’s capable of doing his own laundry.
I watched him silently as he fixed his own cereal, poured his own juice and sat down at the table to eat breakfast. It’s a kitchen, I reminded myself, it’s not like he has to go out and forage for nuts and berries. I smiled, happy and a little sad that my baby son is becoming more self-sufficient by the minute, before my very eyes.
You know, this could be a very good thing. I wonder if he can learn to whip up breakfast in bed in time for Mother’s Day? I’m sure there must be a YouTube video for that. . .
Images courtesy of YouTube and Google Images