My young Chef

I’m happy to be one of the first stops on the blog tour for the super new book Teaching Young Chefs by the one and only Christina Dymock. Do you cook with your kids?  Do you want to?  Check out the links above.   

Duke loves to cook.

I mean he LOVES it.

Anytime he finds me in the kitchen he rushes to get the step stool asking “My turn? My Turn? Mama, My turn?” He’ll just keep on asking until he gets an answer. He slides the stool from counter to counter as I work and is inevitably heart broken when the time comes for me to turn on the stove.  That’s the time when the stool must be locked in the closet as a two year old on a step stool plus a hot stove do not add up to happy things.

He’s learned to recognize the signs that the oven will be open soon.  When he sees a dough laden cookie sheet or a pair of mitts in my hand he backs slowly away from the oven, watching.  Always watching as I open the door and deposit/remove what ever culinary delight we’ve been working on.  I sing to him as we go “Back it up, back it up, Cuz yo mama taught ya good,” and he asks for reinforcement “Backup?” (it’s only one word for him) and “We-we ‘ott?” he needs to know I know he’s doing the right thing.

Kitchen play is a big deal for Duke.  Show that baby boy a toy kitchen and all you’ll hear from him will be a periodic “Mmm, Dee-ner!” as he cooks. Until his birthday last month the best we had to offer him by way of kitchen toys here at home was an itty bitty doll house set.  He carried the tiny kitchen sink around in his hand using it’s lower cabinet space as an oven for days and days.  He also found a skillet from the same set, and used it to cook endless tiny dee-ners for himself. He’s a very conscientious cook and never forgets to caution onlookers that his dishes are indeed “We-we ‘ott,” Eventually his sisters reclaimed their doll house goods but that didn’t stop him.  A generously sized book as a baking sheet and two slips of paper for hot pads had him outfitted perfectly to bake cookies in a piano bench oven. As I’m sure you can imagine these were also, “We-we ‘ott,”

But what can such a small kitchen assistant really do in the kitchen? You know he’s not just standing there contentedly watching the whole time he’s on that step stool. Any time I measure something in a spoon he gets to dump it.  Measuring cups are still up to my discretion as they constitute a much larger mess should they go astray in little hands, and a full cup is heavy enough for a 2 year old that it will most likely go astray. On days when he’s chill enough to let me guide his hand as he dumps, he gets to work with those higher volume measurements.

All things considered, Duke’s favorite thing to do in the kitchen, hands down, is spread peanut butter on bread.

If The Duke needs a snack he’ll go straight for the pantry, unfold the step stool, climb for the peanut butter, climb back down with the peanut butter, walk it over to the counter, return to the pantry to get the stool, push that to the counter, climb up again and take the lid off the jar.  If by that time I haven’t come along and either provided a piece of bread and a butter knife or put the kibosh on the whole endeavor, he’ll be eating handfuls of peanut butter.  So far I’ve always caught him (knock on wood) but some times only just. Lucky for me it takes his tiny hands a good long time to loosen the lid from the jar so I have a pretty respectable warning time.

He’s really great at transporting a gob of peanut butter from the jar to the bread but some assistance is required to spread the gob over the bread’s surface.  If left to his own devices on this step, the pile of peanut butter gobs would grow and grow.  Indefinitely I imagine.

Exhibit A- while taking pictures for this post I let him scoop and gob as I snapped away. (he was having regular butter that day as opposed to peanut) the following is the last of these photos.  Look at the amount of butter he piled up there during those few minutes, and he wasn’t even close to done. He’d have continued on until every speck of butter was transferred to that slice of bread if I’d left him to it.

One thing Duke knows about cooking; yummy is better if you made it yourself.



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