9-year old grandson is so proud of his garden-to-the-table moment. A freshly picked Hungarian Yellow Wax chili pepper grown by him, was the hero of a salsa served with sweet corn tonight. Tapered in shape, this chili is well-flavoured, has a medium heat and is easy to grow.
In the best of Masterchef tradition, he selected his ingredients, he created his recipe as he chopped, stirred, tasted, adjusted and presented. His salsa was brushed over freshly cooked sweet corn. A great taste summer side dish.
Grandson’s homemade salsa recipe: combine chopped yellow chili, freshly picked chopped parsley and basil leaves with melted butter, cold-pressed virgin olive oil, crushed garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. On impulse, he added some diced Lebanese cucumber because that is his favourite vegetable. The quantities were decided as he prepared the chili salsa.
During the cook, he used sharp steel knives, deseeded a chili, melted butter in the microwave, worked cleanly. I showed my sons and now my grandchildren from pre-school age, safe use of equipment, creative cooking, food hygiene and kitchen management skills.
Learning happens in the kitchen. Together, we read recipes, do the maths of costs and amounts and learn about food culture. I believe all children need to learn how to plan a meal and to learn about people’s food likes and health needs. This boy knows his grandfather is a diabetic, why I use lots of fresh ingredients and why I may cook a second dish for the same mealtime.
Usually when he cooks, I work alongside my grandson. We have chatted about my childhood years and the meals my family ate. My late mother’s chocolate cake recipe is now a firm favourite with her great-grandsons. Licking the mixing bowl clean is still an important Cooking 101 task. Tonight, as I wrapped monkfish in prosciutto, we talked about this pork meat and how it adds flavour to fish. My salsa verde had to be taste-tested and we compared the two salsas. Why I was using locally grown and pressed avocado oil and parmesan cheese? Why, indeed. I decided that monkfish is delicate it does not need to be overpowered with stronger flavours.
This 9-year old lad, my grandson, is well on his way to managing a kitchen and feeding the troops. It is not only a skill for healthy living but is also a great life interest.