Madison Magazine April-May 2019 - Page 15

Kids in the kitchen: Food & Drink Recipes that lasts a lifetime Maggie K Smith/ Homegrown Recipes I am in my twenties, though my Mom had me by my age, I current- ly do not have any kids; despite the fact that my Mom is ready to be a grandmother. I eventually want some little ones running around, but right now, it is just me and my dog. When reflecting on writing about a topic that I don’t have really first-hand experience in, I consulted my friends who have children about the dishes that they cook with their kids, and what dishes their kids enjoy mak- ing the most. You can assume that most children love baking. Our schools even use chocolate chip cookies to explain scientific reac- tions and following instructions. The sweets never really in- trigued me as a child, nor do they now, and what I found was chil- dren were requesting the foods they had memories attached to — foods that gave them ultimate comfort, and took them to a place or a memory of a person who made it. • Place rinsed and drained black beans in a bowl. If needed, blot them with a pa- per towel to remove any extra moisture. Place in a large bowl and mash well with a fork. • Place the bell pepper, onion and garlic in a food proces- sor and process until finely minced. • Transfer pepper, onion, garlic mixture to a fine mesh strainer to remove the excess water. Remove as much mois- ture as you can--if it’s too wet, the burger won’t hold together as well. I think often times, when read- ing about kids in the kitchen, we think we need to make hotdogs into octopuses or butterflies out of apples and pretzels, but these little cutesy treats are not what sticks with us as we grow older. What we remember is Sunday dinners, holiday dishes, birth- day traditions, and the people who started them. I think that when food is connected to comfort and dishes to specific people, if we lose a person and they pass away, we can cope through making their specialties. My family lost my Nanny on Christmas Eve of 2017, and need- less to say, it was the hardest moment for our holiday loving family. In order to honor her memory and feel her around the holidays, my Mom and I cook Christmas Day breakfast together, just like we did with my Nanny many years before. Though we shed a few tears, it’s a way to feel her spirit through the tradition • Add the strained vegetable mixture to the bowl with the black beans. Add the chili powder, cumin, cayenne, and salt and pepper and stir to combine. • Add beaten egg and mix. Stir in bread crumbs. Form mix- ture into 4 or 5 patties. • Bake them at 375 degrees F on a lightly oiled baking sheet, for 10 minutes on each side. • Add your desired toppings like lettuce, tomato, pickles, chipotle mayo, pepper jack cheese, sliced avocado, etc. on a toasted bun, and ENJOY! Recipe modified and photo from • 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed • 1/2 green bell pepper • 1/2 small onion • 1 tbsp minced garlic • 1 large egg , beaten • 2/3 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs • 1 Tablespoon chili powder • 1 teaspoon cumin • teaspoon cayenne (optional, add accordingly for your spice preference) • salt and pepper, to taste she created. Food connects us to our heri- tage, and regardless of our physi- cal location ,it can transport us back in time to feel closer to the people and places we love. I believe that getting kids in the kitchen is more than just teaching them the basic skills they need to feed themselves, it’s about bond- ing them to food in a healthy way. It’s about building a relationship with them in the kitchen and en- couraging their curiosities. I challenge you to include your child every time you cook. There’s obviously kitchen hazards that need to be avoided like hot stoves and sharp knives, but teaching them the importance of knowing proper techniques and what is dangerous is part of learning. Curious where to start? Think about the dishes that connect you to the past, think about the loved ones you miss, or memories you’ve made traveling. Recreate it. Ask your kids when they think of a specific person and food, what dish do they think of? Include them in deciding what to cook so that they are more excited about helping out. The kitchen can be a transfor- mative place for children. Kitch- ens are a place that can help them creatively express themselves while giving them one on one time with you. It’s a place that can builds a skill they will need their whole life, and it’s a way to foster a healthy bond with food. Also, be sure to teach them to properly clean a kitchen too. Washing a dish is a skill most of my generation does not have because they never had to. The reality of it is that living on your own requires you to clean every- thing. Prepare them when they are young for this. Lastly, if you didn’t grow up in a kitchen, and regardless if you have kids or not, start your own traditions and start exploring homemade versions of your fa- vorite foods. Someday you might have someone you want to share them with. Here’s a dish I recently made that is kid friendly, healthy, adaptable, and cheap. A P R I L- M AY 2 0 1 9 Madison Magazine 15