A long long time ago… I can still remember when the onions used to
make me cry… ok so they still make me cry, but I can chop them faster
now, and it is an excellent excuse to get some emotion out without
looking like a big cry baby…
Do you remember when you started to cook? It could have been the first
time you got up too late in the dorms and the dining hall was closed, so
you scavenged a ramen pack, some seasonings, and leftover veggies from
Chinese food, or what about the first time you made a meal for someone?
Family, friends, romantic interest? What about as a child, did you ever
make pancakes for your family? Or scrambled eggs?
I think that we have forgotten as a nation that we need to teach and
inspire our children to be better than we are. I am in awe daily as I
watch my boys grow and change. I try to listen to their perspectives
and there are times that they are influencing me more than I am
influencing them, and I am ok with that.
So what does that have to do with food? I am so glad you asked.
My son came home on Sunday and asked if he could have chicken salad, I said
that would be great let me know when lunch was ready. Yahoo… my boy
was in the kitchen, he was making decisions about what kind of food to
have and he picked an easy dish that could be healthy. I helped him
pick out the ingredients and stood back to let him work his magic (I
point this out, because I am kind of a control freak in the kitchen, so
this was a milestone that I am letting him steer the boat). However he
lost his mojo, he was unsure how to pull the chicken off the bone, and
how to chop it up, what ingredients, what spices, etc. He was at a loss
for a simple chicken salad. I on the other hand have to staple my mouth
shut on the possibilities of making a chicken salad, do we want apples,
grapes, pecans, walnuts, celery, pickles…happy happy joy joy… I
My point is that we can let the kids make decisions, strike the path,
and then we may have to push them along the path that they have chosen.
I could have taken over and made the salad, I could have bossed him
around until he was frustrated with the process and decided it was not
worth it… but I hesitated and I listened to what he was asking and took my cue from him. He lost steam because he was overwhelmed, so I helped him break it down. “What do you like in a chicken salad?” “What don’t you like in it?” Slowly, together we worked through this
construction process, a little mayo? Ok, pickles? Yes, please! Salt,
pepper, and it was done. Now a few ingredients has transformed into a
healthy and tasty dish.
These little decisions everyday shape our lives and the ones around us.
Take the time to mentor, teach, and most importantly listen to the
children around you, you might be surprised at what you can learn from
Nicolas’ Chicken Salad
2 cups boneless chicken chopped, (rotisserie, baked, canned)
Mayo, mustard, salt, pepper, pickles, apples, celery, grapes, nuts,
leeks, onions, etc.
You can make you salad any way you like it. After all it is your
salad… Now go cook something!