The joy of baking with kids: and what it teaches us about life
Hello all – another week has passed and March miraculously is here, and with it a taste of spring.
The taste of almost spring was definitely in the air this morning in the Chiswick Mum household: I got up super early in a very uncharacteristically domestic goddess way, to make pancakes for pancake day breakfast.
I felt a veritable hybrid of Martha Stewart and Nigella Lawson I can tell you, as I put these American style pancakes on plates, and heaped fresh blueberries and strawberries on top, topping it with a gloriously decadent stream of golden syrup.
I should actually say that I felt a hybrid of Nadiya Hussain and Mary Berry, as it was Nadiya’s recipe I used, from the weekend’s Saturday Times magazine.
Baking with kids
Chiswick Boy helped me make the pancakes. We’ve been doing a lot of baking together recently. As I wrote last week, my instagram feed has seen a fair share of jam tart pictures.
I think baking with kids is a really bonding activity, and is one of the ways children learnt to count and read, comfortably and naturally next to their mothers – as they read packets, weighed ingredients and calculated cooking times.
Like many great activities in life, with baking the end result isn’t as important as the process. Now you may think that’s an odd thing to say about baking – after all, isn’t it all about the end result? But what I mean is that it doesn’t matter how misshapen or squishy or a little burnt your end creation is – it’s the fun you’ve had along the way.
Take this chocolate fudge cake we made on Saturday:
Definitely misshapen, definitely wobbly, definitely has a chunk missing from the side where it didn’t come out of the tin properly.
Do we care? No! We just add extra multicoloured piles of glitter sprinkles on the top, wallop a bit more chocolate fudge icing in the crevices, display it prettily on a Cath Kidston cake stand and serve it up proudly to Chiswick Daddy.
I think there is definitely some wider life metaphor here about accepting imperfections – and that it’s the everyday process that counts.
In a sense that is what my blog is about. You see, when baking with kids it’s the seemingly everyday actions of folding, weighing and kneading that are actually the important bits – the bits where you’re chatting along, practicing maths unknowingly, making mistakes, unsure of what you will ultimately end up with.
In life with kids it’s the same. It’s the everyday getting up, having breakfast, snuggling to watch a film, having a bit of a wander, doing some homework that is actually life happening. The big bits, like holidays and family get togethers and birthdays and Christmas, they’re the icing on the cake – but they’re not the cake itself.
I suppose what I’m trying to say through this very long baking metaphor, is that we can all worry (and I do, worrying is my middle name) about the big life choices and life plans. But family life isn’t the big bits, it’s the small bits. And we can all do those just fine.
Another jam tart?
What do you think? Can baking teach us anything about life?