We're Cooking Now!
By: K. Peak
Cooking, what better way to bond with your children and educate them at the same time. What can cooking teach besides how to create a mess and frazzle mom or dad? Cooking can teach planning; organization; math; chemistry; patience. Your child can also learn about nutrition, biology and life skills. Best of all, your child can also learn magic! Magic? YES! Many Sabbats have foods related to them. Many deities are associated with foods, herbs or spices. So use this bonding time to teach in a fun manner.
Begin a day (this is good rainy day stuff) by having your child plan a meal with you. Sit down with cookbooks or recipe cards and discuss with your child what he/she would like to eat. Use this opportunity to create a list for shopping, clip coupons and discuss nutrition. At the store, an older child can figure out cost of item bought in bulk. Let's say a recipe calls for one pound of meat per serving, you need four servings and the meat is $1. 29 per pound. Have an older child figure out approximately how much will the meat cost. Younger children can practice reading skills helping mom or dad find an item or a specific brand name. Children who cannot read can answer questions such as "What animals eat apples?" Or help count how many apples will it take to make one pound. Have children learn about healthy eating by looking at the nutrition charts on goods. Can you create the same meal from scratch in a healthier manner? It is amazing the educational benefits a grocery run can have.
At home, smaller children can make games of searching for items you will need for cooking? Can you find Mommy's large copper mixing bowl? How many mixing bowls are in the cupboard? Younger children can help with mixing and pouring measured ingredients. They can also help knead bread or crimp a piecrust with a fork. Older children can get more involved with the cooking process. (ALWAYS use caution and supervision when cutting and cooking.) With any age child, use the opportunity to explain the magical aspects of the foods you are working with. What deity (deities) do they represent? What significance does the food have to the Sabbats? What powers does the food have (especially good when using herbs)? How making things from scratch (or mostly from scratch) indirectly (or directly) infuses them with energy from you.
Now here are some recipes to get you started:
If time is of the essence or you need to simplify, use a pre-made dry biscuit mix. Prepare as directed.
Have your child locate or locate with your child a basic biscuit recipe - most cookbooks have them. To the dry ingredients, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese. Prepare as directed.
(2) 6" sandwich rolls cut lengthwise, 1/2 roll per person (2 rolls will serve four people)
Melt two tablespoons butter.
Add two cloves crushed garlic and a dash of paprika.
Using a pastry brush (I use a 1" - 2" paint brush that has never been used for paint), paint the butter mix over rolls.
Toast in toaster oven or under broiler until edges brown.
Macaroni and Cheese
Prepare package of macaroni, small shells or penne pasta as directed. Drain and return to pan over low heat.
Pour in 1/4-cup milk
Add 1 - 2 tablespoons butter
Tear slices of American and Swiss cheese and place in pan (about three slices American and two of Swiss).
Heat until cheese is melted, stir constantly.
Various cookie cutters
Prepare sandwiches and have child cut them into fun shapes with cookie cutters. You can also do this with grilled cheese. Place the cheese between two slices of bread and cut. Heat a frying pan with a teaspoon of butter and when melted, fry sandwich. Add a little more butter when first side is done them flip and cook second side.
With a vegetable peeler, peel strips of carrot, zucchini and yellow squash into long spaghetti-like strips. Place in boiling water for no more than a minute and drain. Serve with grated cheese, chopped tomato and season with basil.
Individual Apple Pies
Large muffin tin
Piecrusts (I cheat here and use prepared crusts, pie crusts are one things I have not mastered)
Apples (peeled, cored and sliced)
Nutmeg and butter
Using a large, round cookie cutter, cut circles out of the pie crust and lay in muffin tin holes. Make sure the crust comes over the edge of the muffin tin by about 1/4" - 1/2". You will need two circles per "pie." Fill each hole until just slightly mounded with apples (you may wish to cut the slices into smaller pieces) and sprinkle with about 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon and nutmeg. Place a sliver of butter over and cover "pie." Use a fork to crimp the edge (a finger dipped in water and run around the edge of the lower crust before doing this helps it hold better). Put a small hole in the top to vent steam. Brush with a little water and sprinkle a pinch of sugar on the top. Bake at 350 F until golden.
Banana Orange Smoothie
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2-cup plain or vanilla yogurt
1 medium banana cut up
Place in blender and blend well. (This is one serving) You may also add four to six ice cubes and blend for a frozen smoothie.
This next one of for you parents. Make this after the kiddies have gone to bed and you are trying to recuperate from an exhausting but hopefully fun day.
Adults Only Spiced Cider
1 mug hot apple cider - Add to it:
1 shot Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum (about 1oz)
A pat of butter and nutmeg for garnish.
For great recipes, lore and reference I suggest:
The Magic in Food by Scott Cunningham
A Kitchen Witch's Cookbook by Patricia Telesco
Twelve Months of Monastery Soups by Bro. Victor-Antione d'Avila-Latourette (yes, this is not a "Pagan" book but it has wonderful soups and snippets of lore and history).
Also check out the various Wiccan and Pagan Almanacs as well as the Farmer's Almanacs (there are a couple different ones), they often have great stories, lore and recipes to share with the kiddies.