Remember this morning, the one where I woke up to a coffee and waffle surprise from my thoughtful girls? Well, they raised the bar today by surprising me with scrambled eggs! Hot, delicious, perfectly yellow eggs on my plate when I got up.
But wait a second…what are those…puffy white things in the eggs?
Let us back up for a moment. We are Californians at heart, and as such, chips and salsa are most definitely considered breakfast foods. My favorite breakfast is chilaquiles, which is a Mexican dish composed mainly of fried corn tortillas (or store bought tortilla chips) and eggs. You can scramble the eggs, you can fry the eggs, it doesn’t really matter. As long as there are crispy tortillas in the dish it will be delicious.
This is also the girls’ favorite breakfast. However, either we were out of tortillas, or they were experiencing a moment of creative cooking inspiration, because the crunchy white stuff in the eggs turned out NOT to be chips.
Girls: “Mama, can you guess the secret ingredient??”
“Let me see…”
The initial crunchiness disappears and it dissolves immediately.
“It’s kind of…cheesy?”
The powdered variety, white cheddar, maybe?
“Wait I think I know.”
Corn derived, but definitely not chips…
“Is it…Pirates Booty??”
Yes, yes it was. And I ate the whole thing because I am practicing being a good mom, but also because it was unexpectedly tasty. Don’t judge.
After they served me, they brought out a bowl of plain ‘booty (puffed corn, for those of you who aren’t familiar) as a side dish and we all ate breakfast together.
I am glad that my girls are creating and improvising. They come from a long line of chefs and culinary masters. My father’s father ran an Italian restaurant with his brothers. My mother’s mother tossed fresh pizza for her first job in America after immigrating to the U.S. from Napoli. Many extended aunts and uncles and cousins have owned restaurants and are in the food or wine business to some degree.
Yes, we have some “foodie DNA” in our blood. But as a child, and even into adolescence, I hated to cook. My mom tried to teach me, but I only had time for writing songs and imagining my life as a traveling musician. I didn’t think I would have babies or cook meals every night.
I only learned how to cook after I got married. I would mix herbs and see what worked and what didn’t. I would experiment with different ingredients and see what tasted right. The first meal I ever made were fajitas that were WAY too salty. Then I mastered fried rice. And we ate rice, and rice, and MORE rice until we were so tired of it I figured out something new to make.
Now cooking has become one of my main creative outlets. It is therapeutic for me. If I could have one day with no distractions it would be hard to decide between writing music or spending the day in the kitchen. My young-adult self would never have imagined this. But I didn’t know until I tried it on, and I didn’t get better until I was able to experiment and to fail.
The truth is, I haven’t always been good at giving my girls space to do this. But that has been a homeschool goal of mine this year. I’m reorienting my hopes along with my expectations.
I hope they learn discipline from chores, but I don’t expect the house to be perfectly clean. I hope they learn that math can be beautiful, but I don’t expect them to test at a certain level. I hope they learn to improvise, and I don’t expect the status quo–even if that means there is Pirate Booty in my scrambled eggs.
Later in the day, Sera asked to make something from a cookbook…
Sera had never baked anything from scratch completely on her own before today, but her carrot cake muffins turned out delicious.
Sometimes you have to learn the rules so you know how to “break” them.
But sometimes, like today, I think it is the other way around.
Sera’s newfound freedom in the kitchen led to her desire to learn more.
Which reminds me of another goal that I am seeing realized every day:
I hope my girls always love to learn.
And I expect that they will.