That in which Arjun Cooks Dinner.

One recent evening when my children weren’t being as grateful (and quick) as I would have liked at eating their perfectly good homemade dinner, I challenged them to cook something better. Well, why don’t you cook then, I had snapped back after their umpteenth complain of what I could have done differently.

The next day I checked out all the children’s cookbooks I could find at the public library and thrusted them in their sweet little hands asking each to pick a meal and cook it. I can’t wait to complain about it, I said with a thundering laugh.

(I was perhaps a little too excited to finally show them first hand how much work it is to make food for your family and how annoying it is when no one appreciates it.)

For this week’s grocery run, they wrote out their grocery list of ingredients and then finally last night it was showtime for Arjun who picked not one but two things from DK’s The Vegetarian Cookbooksourdough avocado toast with mango and coconut yogurt.

My contributions to his efforts were limited to cutting the lemon and avocadoes in half, and reminding him at 5pm that it was time to start cooking. What followed next was a lot of fun to watch.

Honestly, I had expected him to abandon half way through given that it was a weekday and after a full day of virtual school, all he wanted to do was run around, not cook. But clearly he was dedicated to the cause; even after Ajay pulled his stool next to him asking to “help”.

I watched from the kitchen island with Ari in my arms (Asha took these pictures). There was a lot of spilling, more than necessary use of utensils, and of course licking of practically everything before it was added to the bowl. But overall, he did it. He produced what he had promised.

I was all too proud of his efforts, including being patient with Ajay and making him feel useful too. In fact so proud was I that I forgot all about complaining and sticking it to the (little) man! Ajay, who is my biggest complainer had nothing to say either.

Could this be a weekly thing, I am thinking? I mean, everyone seemed so happy and satisfied that I didn’t mind putting in a little extra effort in cleaning up the mess which I don’t think can be avoided when children are in the kitchen. The cookbook itself is truly very good with recipes that are actual meals that I would love to eat.

Asha goes next in a couple of days and I can’t wait for it. She is a little more experienced in the kitchen and has picked a recipe that actually involves fire. You can count on a pull report again. In the meantime. bon appetit and may there be no complaining at dinnertime in your life!

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