Friday, August 22, 2008

Kids Say the Gardenest Things!

I'm not the biggest fan of kids in general, but I do think My Adorable Nephews are pretty neat. And when their birthdays roll around, I like to give them something special.

A few months ago
I found a wonderful children's cookbook by Mollie Katzen (of Moosewood fame) called Pretend Soup, and as I flipped through the pages, reading the simple but healthy recipes and delighting in the colorful drawings that outlined each step, I knew I'd found the perfect birthday gift for Beaker, my elder nephew.

So, for his seventh birthday last month, I wrapped it up and gave it to him. And the response was overwhelmingly positive. When I called him the day after his birthday, he thanked me and, at my prompting, said he first wanted to try the quesadilla recipe in the book. (His mother, the Southern Belle, then reported that Beaker had been grinning from ear to ear as we spoke and that he was very excited to try all the recipes with me.)

Success! I thought. Another young person converted to the joy of cooking -- I love it!

But I didn't realize until today just how much an impact the cookbook has had on my nephew already:

I received a handwritten thank you note from Beaker, surely prompted by his mother but no less meaningful for that. And though his words of thanks were simple, he covered the back side of the page with additional thoughts:

Clearly the quesadillas are still on his mind! But he also depicted the tomatoes (or "tomdos") from the garden, the eggshells (upper right) we sprinkle around some of the plants to keep away the creepy crawlies, and -- most flattering of all -- the inclusion of his beloved "Auntie Jen" (yes, that's me) in his family of four (with his little brother off to the left). Though I find it funny how he perceives me, the tallest of the adults, to be in the middle size-wise, I'm thrilled that he put me smack dab in the midst of the people he loves most.

This year's garden has been a wonderful way for us to spend more time together and for the boys -- Beaker especially -- to get more interested in vegetables through learning their life cycles, and I think it has made them both a little more open to trying new foods in the kitchen.

And now, I can hardly wait to get into the kitchen and cook with them again!

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At 8/25/2008 7:47 PM, Anonymous Janet said...

Oh, those darned kids. Super-cute picture, which I would interpret to mean you may be taller, but you lack his parents stature in his world! I'll have to take a look at the cookbook for ideas, if not for my youngest niece/nephew.

At 8/26/2008 6:52 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

That's what I figured, too, Janet... but hey, I made the list, so I'm pretty pleased! :-)


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