The ability to plan and execute a project are essential skills if you want to be successful at just about anything in life.. I do not know about you, but I had not given much thought to the amount of planning and skill involved with preparing a simple meal, until this today.
It was home ec at home, this evening.
Liam and Aidan were responsible for making supper. I sort of take preparing a meal for granted, forgetting all of the logistics and safety issues related to preparation. Wearing my white management hat overseeing the boys in the kitchen reminded me that putting supper on the table takes a great deal of coordination, skill and focus.
The goal, salmon fillets, basmati rice, steamed broccoli and spanakopita.
The challenge, reading the directions on each package, co-coordinating the cooking time, cleaning the dishes and maintaining a sanitary counter. Sounds easy enough, but I have forty years of experience.
Liam was in charge of the cooking the rice and the broccoli. Aidan was charged with the oven related duties.
Liam plugged in the rice cooker, read the directions for cooking the Bassmati rice -two cups of water for each cup of rice. First lesson, a measuring cup has volume for two cups of liquid. A little confusing!
Liam dipped the measuring cup into the huge bag (Cost-Co sized) of rice, scooped up one cup of rice and dumped it into the rice cooker, followed by one full measuring cup (two cups) of water, he closed the lid, pressed the start button. Next he assembled the steamer, filled the bottom with water and placed it on the stove top. He selected a slow heat and started to prepare the broccoli spears.
Aidan carefully read the directions for cooking the salmon fillets and the spinokopita. He made a few quick calculations, got frustrated and than calmed down.
He turned the oven on, set it for 375 f. While he waited for the oven to warm up and beep, he placed the spanakopita in a baking dish. It had to go in for six minutes longer thab the salmon. Once the oven beeped he placed the dish on the middle rack. I suggested that he use oven mits to ensure that he got into the habit of making sure he had them on, hot or cold! The other lesson, stand back when you open the oven door, let the steam out before sticking your face any where near it!
Time to prepare the salmon. He used the scissors to open each package, got a brush out to spread the olive oil along the bottom of the baking dish. At the six minute mark he placed the salmon into the oven, gave the dish with the spanokopita a shake.
Liam checked the steam pot, the water was warming up. Ten minutes to go before he needed to put the broccoli on. Time to prepare the cheese sauce. Aidan sets the table. At the ten minute mark Liam placed the broccoli in the steamer, Aidan flipped over the spanakopita and and sprinkled some Greek seasoning over the salmon.
Exactly ten minutes later, the rice cooker beeped. The rice, the salmon, the broccoli, and spanakopita were all ready at the same time.
Aidan served up the meals, Liam placed the cheese sauce in the microwave and we sat down to a great family dinner.
When we finished he meal, Conor cleared the table and placed the dishes in the dishwasher. Kris and I washed the pots and baking dishes.
Liam says from now on Monday nights are kids supper night. Next week: Chicken Stir Fry, Chinese noodles and spring rolls!
No fighting, a shared sense of accomplishment and a good meal. What more could a proud dad ask for?