Saturday, May 14, 2011

Budding chefs then, Gourmet Gurus now

Both my children have varying degrees of pickiness when it comes to food, if one wants sandwich with mint chutney the other wants mayonnaise. If one likes rasam the other will eat sambar. If it's horlicks for one, the other wants complan. Sometimes it gets tiring to bring them to the table.

That’s when a few summers back I decided to introduce them to make their own food. It kept them engaged, introduced them to ingredients , helped them to unleash their creativity and making their own food gives them a sense of accomplishment. They needed a lot of help in the beginning but now the budding chefs have turned into master chefs and gourmet gurus. They give me cooking tips now. (like add a dash of sugar when you add tomato puree to reduce the acidity and soak basmati for one hour etc).

It began with the assembling of their favorite food. They started with the sandwiches and lemonades. Then I used to have the patties and veggies chopped and ready all they had to was slice the buns lay the cheese slice, fill in the veggies and squeeze the sauces of their choice. Then came the burgers, pizzas and simple desserts like custard, trifle pudding and then it was bake time with black forest cakes and carrot cakes.

Now they have become more creative and just dish out anything with available ingredients. They bake, cook and twist the original recipes to suit their taste or manage to get the ingredients from Nilgiris(supermarket) below.
That’s not all the final product is dressed and presented well.

A few months back my luxurious siesta was broken by the aroma from the kitchen, startled I walked into the kitchen to find my daughter grilling bell pepper and my son kneading dough for nachos.

They had been pestering me to make nachos and salsa sauce @ home, although I had the ingredients, I had been stalling for some time. They decided to make it on their own and how?
They googled and found the recipe and went into action.
The end product was presented artistically. A layer of microwaved nachos was spread on a plate, layered with salsa sauce, dressed with cheese and baked again and it truly tasted yummy especially more when it’s done by the kids.

Now it’s vacation time my fussy growing children are at home and they want to eat 'SOMETHING DIFFERENT', no not the regular staple diet of rice, rasam, idli, dosa and roti. ‘‘engalukku saapadu vendam, vera edhavudu differenta, naangalay pannikrom, neengalum kashta pada vendam”, ( no, we don’t want rice/roti, something different. Can we make on our own,? We don’t want to trouble you also).

I permitted them but conditionally. I struck a deal with them that they have to have their regular dose of staple and veggies for brunch . They can use microwave but when they switch on the gas, they have to call me.

When they are hungry they go to kitchen and make their own food. Now it has become a favorite pastime for them to dish out new dishes.

The various cookery shows like Nigella Lawson(TLC), Vicky Ratnani’s gourmet central and ‘Do it sweet’, Aditya Bal’s ‘Chak Le India’ and ‘ game nite bites’(NDTV good times), Podhigai’s ‘ theneer neram’( tamil channel), star vijay’s ‘ samaiyal samaiyal’ and the various see through kitchens they have been exposed to during their outings - are all adding fuel to their imagination. They are getting more creative day by day. As they go about their work, they also give a commentary like in TV shows.

No, they hav’nt gorgotten the old world dishes too. They are learning them by lending a helping hand to their grandmom while she makes kai suttu murukku, thattai, sevai , thavala vadai etc.,

The only hitch is when it comes to cleaning and the little fights they have. The elder one is very meticulous and does the clean up after work, while the younger one cites cleaning as child labour and escapes. Sometimes the younger one disagrees with the elder one on some score and ditches her in the effort finally leaving the elder one to do on her own.

With the summer sun scorching, I’m relaxing this summer with the lemonades , mango shakes, trifle puddings, cakes and au gratins and another outcome is that the fussy eaters eat whatever they dish out with relish. It reminds me of the kurkure advt ‘Tedha hai par mera hai’.

Did’nt some wise man say -
‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime’

Some clicks of their creations:

Trifle pudding

Mexican Fajitas

Eggless Black Forest cake



Home made chocolate in the final stage


  1. wowwwww...ithanaiyum neenga panveengala...ootu address please :)

  2. kandippa gils, menula enna venum sollunga. ootla ellorum cook(er) dhaan including 12 year old son. sec'bad vandha vaanga.

  3. Wow! good training for the kids. Maybe after the initial excitement they might prefer your cooking itself, simple yet wholesome and less mess and less fight between themselves.

  4. @ rama - oh, will the enthu wear off. i thought next summer too i could enjoy their food :) thank you.

    @SSS - where have u been? make more posts.

  5. which bus takes me to secunderabad fm dubai?

  6. This is really good news. Children learning to cook. Children must learn everything . I too allowed my son to experiment in the kitchen and he too started cooking his own dishes, this skill comes in handy when they stay alone and I would say it has helped my son to sharpen his culinary skills.
    Good pics, of dishes.

  7. @ ramesh - an airbus :)

    @chitra - absolutely chitra, it makes them independant.

  8. hey come we were never invited! good work by shreya and sharun!

  9. hey shipra, this is a surprise. Now keep this a secret.

  10. u can be sued under child labour for making such small children to cook though i myself got eat some yummies prepared by lovely niece (13yrs, cute nephew (11yrs) and my darling daughter(7yrs). panipuri, bhel puri, dahi puri andlemonade most of all their lovely service they ate only after we had (my amma, appa, akka and myself) though my lil devil was tempted to eat she was asked to wait by her cousin