The kitchen is not the heart of our home, but that is only because it is too small. My sister measures the size of a kitchen by the number of rear ends that can fit and work comfortably in the kitchen She calls my kitchen a "one butt kitchen" meaning that only one person can fit in there and work comfortably. So the dining room has often become an extension of our kitchen. For the sake of simplicity in this post when I refer to kitchen I also mean kitchen activities in our dining room. Caleb had not gotten into cooking with me too much until recently, but Simeon really enjoys cooking with me. It has been a valuable part of our homeschooling experience as we have done many math lessons by cooking together. Simeon learned to count by throwing chocolate chips one by one into the cookie dough. Caleb has been learning about fractions with our measuring cups lately. Our math curriculum teaches fractions, but Caleb found those lessons pointless until he really got into cooking with me.
Cooking and math are just part of what we are learning in the kitchen. They are learning to follow instructions in the kitchen. There have been recipes not turn out because directions were not followed. I have learned that sometimes I need to let the recipe flop so that they can learn that it is important to follow directions. We have also spent time preserving food for winter time in a food dehydrator, a canner, the freezer, etc. Other times we have prepared meals or snacks in advance to put in the freezer. We learn to think ahead and to be strategic through our time in the kitchen.
Another lesson we learn is how to be hospitable through our kitchen. We have recently made cookies for neighbors and delivered them. Caleb and Simeon thought it was so fun to take cookies over to certain neighbors homes. Then we recently made snacks for a friend who is having a difficult time. They have helped me make meals for families with illness. I learned yesterday of a family in our church who the husband recently had surgery and the wife has injured herself. I plan for the boys and I to make a meal to take to them. Then sometimes we like to have people over for a meal or tea time. We are learning great lessons about serving others through our kitchen.
We do science experiments in our kitchen. We have mixed oil and water, vinegar and baking soda. Then we did other things like taking oil and water then shaking it to see how the oil breaks up to see how our gall bladder works. Another experiment that we did was take an apple and mummify it. Still another thing we did was take a plastic container with a lid put an egg in and shut it up then shake the container hard. This broke the egg. Then we did the same thing only this time there was water in with the egg in the container. This time when we shook the egg and it did not break. This was to show us why there is fluid between our brain and skull. We made an edible cell, dissected a chicken bone, and I could go on and on with all the different science experiments or activities we have conducted in our kitchen.
Of course I do not want to leave out the obvious we are learning to cook in our kitchen as well as other life skills. The boys have learned to wash dishes and Caleb has learned about knife safety. So he and I now cut vegetables and fruit together. We are starting to learn about meal planning.
A favorite thing for Caleb in the kitchen right now is that he is inventing recipes or new dishes. He made a noodle creation yesterday with leftover black beans spiced with taco spices, cream cheese, left over spaghetti noodles, Parmesan cheese, and bread crumbs. Then he garnished it with a mint leaf from the herb bed. It was interesting and not too bad. I did eat it with a smile. The day before he took tomatoes, seeded them, filled them with salsa, and then sprinkled basil on top. He named that one Meeka. That was yet again interesting, and I ate it with a smile on my face and we saved some for Daddy to try.
Simeon enjoys baking and most of the time when I cook he will have a chair pulled right on up to the stove and will stir whatever is on the burner. He puts on his apron and wants to know what we are doing and why. I think he will turn into a good cook as he grows up.
There is no way I will be able to tell you all the different things we do in the kitchen nor all the memories we have made. One silly memory was recently when our backyard wiener roast got rained out. We roasted marshmallows on the gas burners of our stove and made smores. I think the thing I most enjoy about our kitchen is the memories and the bonding we have during our times in the kitchen. We have laughed and cried in the kitchen. We are learning to live life together. One day we will look back and I think some of our greatest memories will be times in the kitchen together.