I decided a while ago that I’d like my house to be known among my kids and their friends as the cooking house. How positively, eye-rolling-ly uncool, right? Uncool like matching patterns. Uncool like not knowing how to rapid-fire text (hunt-peck-hunt-peck).
So I resigned myself to that knowing negativity, all the while hoping I’d someday land in an alternate universe where having the cooking house -– as opposed to the Wii house/swimming house/snack house with its magnetic pull of Costco tubs of Swedish fish and rec room refrigerators stocked with Coke –- would actually be cool.
My husband and I decided long ago, when our babies were babies, that we’d like our house be the hang-out house. But our house is none of the above, so how to encourage the presence of our girls and their friends? How to contrive an inviting environment that doesn’t include stacks of Pringles or Guitar Hero tournaments in the bargain?
Emmie is the girl world’s latest inductee into sleepover territory. She’s enthusiastic about the whole cooking thing at the moment, and wanted to make dinner with her friends. One night they smushed and rolled hamburger into meatballs. Another sleepover involved homemade mac and cheese, roux and all.
And her friends didn’t balk at the concept of a sleepover that didn’t include delivery pizza. They actually thought it was cool. They want to come back and do it again.
Could it be, then? Cool? I was a little surprised at their eagerness, their willingness to get their hands dirty when they admitted to never really cooking before. One told me she’s in charge of helping at home with the salad, and that once her mom showed her how to do something with chicken (she couldn’t remember what).
Of course, I think cooking is cool. Now. But when I was Emmie’s age I pretended the word wasn’t in my vocabulary. At the time knowing a saucepan from a sauté pan was pretty low on the list. Ok, so I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a sauté pan. Of course I didn’t. I was enmeshed in gaping at music videos at the house of my one friend who had MTV while we crushed barbecue potato chips into cottage cheese. Besides, Hardee’s was within walking distance.
And I had a mom who made me food. When that luck ran out, I knew there were plenty of purveyors of edible items out in the wide world. Since I planned on growing up and having the swimming house anyway, might as well go for the eating-out-every-night gusto, too.
Now, I know there’s more to edibility than the fact that the thing sitting on the wrapper in front of you won’t kill you if you ingest it (at least not immediately). So while I’d refuse to accommodate a Hannah Montana marathon (right – Hannah Montana isn’t so cool anymore), I’ll gladly host an afternoon of experimenting with crêpe fillings.
Come on down, kids.