Friday, March 22, 2019

Any 4-Year-Old Can Sous Chef: A Catholic Parent's Guide To Family-Style Cooking

Turn off that TV! Throw open those baby gates! And gather your hangry offspring to the stickiest room in your home --

It's 4:00 PM on a school night and time to cook family-style!

Cooking is praying twice, so don't let your little ones miss this holy hour. If your baby's napping, get them awake and to the kitchen! "Tired" is just devil-slang for sloth.

And don't be fooled, parents. If your baby can open a child-safety-locked kitchen cabinet, he can chop an onion. (Now, I don't personally cook with onions because I don't allow that kind of emotional manipulation into my home and particularly my kitchen. Nevertheless, any 4-year-old with a Santoku can sous chef.)

The more kids you line up on that counter assembly line -- just crowd them in like a family pew on Sunday -- the more mysterious nutrition they will cram into that holy feast. And oh, how our God works in mysterious ways. Just look down your row of sweet surprise babies. Mysterious ways.

Chop, chop, chop, little ones! Oh, you are worried and anxious about so many things, dear chef. Let them at that board with tired eyes and clumsy hands. Do not their guardian angels stand near?

Now you may be tempted to lose your joy as you shepherd little lambs through holy family cooking hour. But claim the dinner victory! Get your domestic church choir singing, so the joy, joy, joy, joy can fill up your kitchen!

And yet, guard your hearts, pious parents, lest that kitchen joy turn careless. Can the Lord be glorified by crumbly meatloaf and soupy sauce? Bless your heart, no -- no more than He could delight in frozen chicken nuggets or unplated bananas. Let your food be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.

This holy family cooking hour, more than any other moment of the day, trains up your children in the way they should go. Do you want your baby boy -- see how heartily he rips kale from stalk to pot! -- living in your basement when he's 30? Then you best not put that butter from the fridge to the microwave. (Yes, I see it flaunts a "soften" button like a nursery sign at Sunday Mass, but so also did the Garden of Eden have that damn tree of knowledge. Don't touch it, don't let your children touch it, and for heaven's sake, don't serve it to your family.)

Can you feel the joy of cooking family-style?

The plating of your children's meals will reveal the purest revelation of a parent's soul. Have you created a merry meatball mouse leaping on a landscape of pea grass and whipped russet clouds, a vision of the heaven that doubtless awaits you? Or does the gloppy abyss of hell leak runaway gravy into your smutty stack of scallops? Do not be weighed and found wanting in the artistry of family dinner, chef.  What will little Joseph's dinner tell the world of your eternal destiny?

And finally, let us be clear: hell hath no fury than toward the parent who leads a child astray in prematurely mixing ingredients simply to avoid the just and natural work of washing every cup, bowl, pot, and plate in the house after dinner. Better a millstone around your neck than to leave a container unused or a cabinet unemptied during family cooking hour.

Be blessed, chef. Be blessed.


Saturday, March 9, 2019

Three Hours One Thursday: My Life in Questions

Can I please have a bandaid?
Can you fix the dinosaur keychain on my backpack?
Can I work on crafts?
Can you help me find the dart for my Nerf gun?
Can I get my blanket?
Can I wear my bathrobe instead of a jacket?
Can I eat a piece of candy from the carnival?
Can I share my candy with my brothers?
Can I have medicine for my ear?
Can you clean my ear?
Can we have noodles for dinner?
Can we have no sauce, just parmesan cheese?
Can I have cucumbers for lunch tomorrow?
Can we watch a movie?
Can we watch a movie on the big screen?
Can you fix my glasses?
When are my new glasses coming in?
Did you wash my jacket?
Can we have marshmallows for a snack?
Am I allergic to marshmallows?
Can we find my show-and-tell for tomorrow?
Can I bring popcorn to school?
Can I eat this?
Can I have an ice pack for my arm?
Do you have classes tomorrow?
Are you coming to my reward lunch at school?
Is Dad coming?
Can I go to Joseph's reward lunch too?
Can the dog come in?
Can I leave my toys set up until tomorrow?
Can I have a Kleenex?
Can you clean my glasses?
Can I flush the toilet?
Whose poop is in the toilet?
Why doesn't he flush the toilet?
Are you proud of me?
Are we having waffles for breakfast?
Are we having oatmeal for breakfast?
Can we have waffles for breakfast tomorrow?
Why can't we have oatmeal for breakfast today?
Can you make oatmeal for breakfast tomorrow?
Can I wear shorts?
Can I wear my Bob the Builder shirt?
Can you do laundry today?
Can I put on my own shoes and socks?
Can you help me with my socks?
Can I put on my own jacket?
Can you help me with my jacket?
Do I have a lunch today?
Can we play at the park?
Can we ride our bikes in the street today?
Can I wear roller skates?
Can I wear roller skates in the street?
Can you help me put on my roller skates?
Can you take off my roller skates?
Can you put air in this ball?
Can you put air in this [other] ball?
Can you make cheese and crackers for lunch?
Can I have peanut butter crackers for dinner?
Can I have noodles for dinner?
Can you put my ice pack away?
Can you help me with my underwear?
Can I empty my potty by myself?
Can you make my brother play with me?
Can you get me the cars?
Can I get the pipes out of the closet?
Can you read this to me?
Can we watch "Paw Patrol?" Can we watch "VeggieTales?" Can we watch "American Ninja Warrior?"
Can you get the glue?
Can I get more glue?
Can you clean my scissors?
Can I have paper?
Can I have more paper?
Can you help me clean up my cars?
Did you sew my shirt?
When's my doctor's appointment?
Are you sending money to school for me?
Can we march with our school in the parade?
Can I bring the Box Tops to school tomorrow?
Why does he get to bring the Box Tops to school?
How many Box Tops do we have?
Can we take them down and count them?
What are we bringing to the potluck on Saturday?
Are we bringing food to Bible study tomorrow?
Can I carry it?
Can I sit in the front seat when we go to church tomorrow?
When's the next time we're going to Mommom's house?
Can we play at the rec center today?
Can you get my special rosary?
Can you check my hurt finger?
Can I have a new bandaid?
Why is there smoke on the stove?
Why is the stove hot?
Can I have something else?
Why isn't it dinner time?
Why aren't you making dinner?
Can I check the mail?
Why isn't the mail here yet?
When will the mail come?
Can you find my yellow truck?
Did you trash my yellow truck?
Where's my yellow truck?
For my birthday [in 9 months], can I have chocolate cake with blueberries?
For my birthday [in 11 months], can I have chocolate chip pancakes?
For my birthday [in 8 months], can I go to Chuck E. Cheese by myself, just me and Dad?
What are you making for dinner?
Is there dog poop outside?
Can I have my allergy medicine?
Can I have that cream you put on my face?
Can I have chapstick?
Do you like my hat?
Can I play with this toy on my thumb?
Can I only eat with one hand?
Do I need a bath?
Do I need a shower?
Why do I need a shower?
Do you remember when Daddy gave me a fish bandaid?
Will you buy more fish bandaids?
Can I go outside?
Can I come inside?
Can you only close the door a little bit?
Can I put my bathrobe here?
Why do I have to put it away?
Why can't I play in the kitchen?
Why are you making that?
Can I set the table?
Why can he set the table?
Why are we watching this?
How come he gets to choose?
Can I wait to brush my teeth?
Can I get more toothpaste?
Don't the Great Lakes have a lock system, like the Panama Canal?
Can we visit there someday?
Can we record this show?
Can you look this up for me?
Why did you make this kind of noodle?
Can I have just applesauce for dinner?
Can I play games on the computer?
Can I have just noodles, no sauce, for dinner?
Is this live TV?
Can you pause the TV?
Why is there water all over the cooktop?
Is Daddy at work?
What time will Daddy be home from work?
Can you close the curtains?
Can I have a different blanket?
Can I sleep on your bed?
Can I sleep on Joshua's bed?
Is this an airplane?
Is this red?
Can we play CandyLand?
Can I play Monopoly by myself?
Can you clean my underwear?
Do you like what I made?
Is this a police car?
Will they have childcare at church?
Why don't we make a schedule for who gets to check the mail every day?
Is that a good idea?
Can I use these new craft supplies for a project?
Were you thinking about me when you bought these?
But they're for everybody, right?
When's the next school holiday?
Is that real or pretend?
Can you untangle this yarn?
Can I have my camera?
Where's the string?
Can I borrow your good scissors?
Can I sleep on Mom and Dad's bed?
Can I have peanut butter crackers after I eat my noodles?
Where's the string?
Can I bring my blanket to the living room?
Can you staple this for me?
Did the dog throw up?
Can we watch a movie while we eat?
Why can't we eat now?
Can you fill in the hole in the backyard?
Can you do it now?
Can I fill in the hole?
Did you know salmon can swim across flooded roads?
Is it just a little bit of poop?
Is it big poop?
Can you clean it?
Can you find the magnet letter P?
Can you find the card letter P?
Can you put them in my show-and-tell bag for tomorrow?
Can I wear the dalmation costume for the 101st day of school tomorrow?
Is this blue-and-white or black-and-white?
Can you make a dalmation shirt for me for school tomorrow?
What do I have that's black and white?
Can I feed him the old dog food?
Is the dog sick because he eats too fast?
Do you know where my rubber bands are?
Can we read the story of David?
Can we read the story of Jonathan?
Where's the burning bush?
What time will we wake up in the morning?
What are you making for breakfast?
Can we have waffles?
Can we have oatmeal?
Can you fold my blanket?
Can I have another hug and kiss?
Why did you let us bring candy to school on December 7th but not tomorrow?
What is wind?
Are you talking about tornadoes?
If God wants us to stand strong and not change direction, then doesn't that mean we shouldn't try new foods?
Can we have a piece of candy before school tomorrow?
Why can't we do the school fundraiser?
If I earn the money, can I do the school fundraiser?
Do you know where Jupiter is?
Do you know what happens if an asteroid hits the earth?
Can I choose a different book to read?
Why can't I read with my brother?
Can the dog sleep with us?
Do you know where my stuffed animal is?
Why is my stuffed animal in the closet?


...


Mom, are you writing down everything we say?