Playin’ and Cookin’
One of my favorite activities (and splurges!) this winter has been taking a Music Together class with R. I wasn’t sure that as a 10 month old baby he would get anything out of it, but I knew that one structured afternoon class would be wonderful for me. In fact, R. loved it. Between having a big baby-safe place to crawl, maracas to shake, drums to bang and nibble on, and music to dance to (I never cease to crack up as he sways his hips whenever he hears a tune), R. was as content as could be. Even better, he loved the CD enough that he stopped crying every time we went in the car. Instead he plays with his rattle and smiles as we play the songs over and over.
One of the songs on the Music Together CD is “Playin in the Kitchen.” Definitely not one of my favorites, I realized yesterday that I could put the song into action. For two days I had wanted to try Orangette’s recipe for Mujadara But since the dish called for not only chopping onions but also watching them cook for over 50 minutes I originally thought it would have to be part of the weekend files.
Instead, I picked R up, plopped him down by the frig and handed him a chef’s version of music makers: a wooden spoon, some metal pot covers, a measuring cup and a set of measuring spoons. I picked them up and clanged them together. R. giggled, and joined in.
For 10 precious minutes I was able to prepare the meal and engage with R. at the same time. While not quite long enough to make the whole dish, it was just enough time to get the onions and lentils in their separate pans and to measure out the rice. And, in fact, the rest of the meal really was a breeze, especially as the onions don’t need to be watched too carefully if the heat is turned down low. I even realized that if I purchased the packaged lentils at Trader Joe's (vacuum sealed in the produce section), this could be even easier. I enjoyed it with mango chutney, while my husband thought it was just delicious on its own.