Years of entries on this blog have made it clear; my first born son loves to cook. If anything seems to have been somehow infused into his DNA through hours of headphones on my belly when I was pregnant with him and introducing him to the sounds of Mozart in the womb, its his appreciation for the finer things in life. Jazz music and food being at the top of the list. This fall, at the ripe old age of 10, he will take an college level food science class through Harvard. Its seriously a passion of his.
While on a date night this week, sipping blackberry soda and homemade peach ice cream floats, I asked him if he would rather have a job someday making lots of money but more stress or less stress and a more enjoyable job (not that you can't have both money and no stress...this was just for conversation sake). His answer? "Doing what I love for less money. Like being a chef."
I'm not sure most chefs would agree with that no-stress factor, but the fact that Canaan counts America's Test Kitchen's Christopher Kimball as the epitome of chef amazingness, its easy to see how life as a chef in a Vermont farmhouse kitchen might be a quintessentially perfect one.
(If you are completely lost after that last paragraph, its time for some Google exploration.)
This summer, on the break between his 4th and 5th grade years, Canaan has immersed himself (between Beyblade battles with Ezra, Skylanders, tennis and the backyard Slip and Slide) in the New Best Recipe Cookbook and episodes of Kimball's shows on Amazon Prime to hone his skills in the kitchen.
**As I write this I can hear him schooling Ezra in the difference between cinnamon rolls and cinnamon buns (per the cookbook's descriptions). The conversation is intense.
Two days ago, Canaan declared he was going to make croissants after watching an episode of the show. The confusion must have been apparent on my face when I came into the kitchen early yesterday morning (the dough is a 2 day process) to find he had mixed up crescent and croissant. Rookie mistake ;) So crescent rolls yesterday...and croissants to make an appearance this weekend.
The rolls were flaky and delicious. I'm continually blown away at his patience and appreciation for the art of baking. Cooking has been such a great way to watch him (who has a tendency to be overly hard on himself~ verging on perfectionism) to blossom in the skills most adults are still trying to aspire to; reading and following instructions, flexibility and adaptability when all the ingredients aren't at hand, ingenuity, accepting failure when something flops, having a calm/levelheaded approach when things get "heated" in the kitchen.
He was up far before we were yesterday morning. When I stumbled out of bed and into the kitchen for the first cup of Yorkshire tea with milk I found him working away. Soon enough Otto woke up and Canaan, growing into his role as a big brother and mentor, gave Otto the end pieces of the dough and patiently taught him the proper rolling technique.
On our date this week Canaan told me about a recent episode of America's Test Kitchen where a woman wrote Christopher Kimball a poem that he read on air. In Canaan's words:
He loved the poem so much that he invited her to come eat lunch with them and tour the studio. I would love to do that. But honestly mom, that poem made no sense. I couldn't make filly or fally out of it.