I went for a walk and came home to find them both in the kitchen. They can cook, but they have rarely baked entirely on their own. As I took off my shoes, I heard raised voices and then laughter. Andre walked into the front hall and stage whispered to me, “They’re making chocolate chip cookies. They don’t know that we don’t have chocolate chips.” He cleverly retreated upstairs while I tentatively approached the cooking zone.
“We’re baking!” Their enthusiasm almost bowled me over. My eyes roved over the counter, floor, children.
“Don’t worry!” said my more cautious elder child, “We started with a bowl that was too small and the butter and sugar kind of went everywhere…”
“It made a HUGE mess,” added his brother, gleefully.
“But we’ve mostly cleaned it up. And now we’re using a bigger bowl. But the brown sugar has lumps so we’re smashing them with our fingers.”
“It’s harder than it looks.”
I offered to help and was invited to finish the creaming. “You’re so good at that,” my eldest said wistfully.
“You’ll get it,” I reassured. Hoping that my help would soften the inevitable blow, I broke the news that there were no chocolate chips.
They hesitated, then rallied. “We can add Nutella!” said the 10-year-old. “That’ll taste great!”
“And the Dutch sprinkles!” added the 12-year-old, “We still haven’t used them.”
Disaster averted, they pushed forward. “Wait!” Mr. 10 is suddenly nervous, “is it ok that we’ve had the oven on for a kind of a long time? It’s empty! It’s not like the microwave, right?” I nodded and moved away from them. They were on their own.
His brother started to raz him about the time he turned the microwave on instead of using the timer. As they cracked the eggs, they discussed something that had billions of something. They were laughing again. One of them added a healthy dollop of Nutella. The other suggested more. The open laptop was immediately next to the bowl where they were mixing the batter. They tried, unsuccessfully, to use the beaters to mix in the flour.
I stayed near enough to watch without interfering, keeping my mouth shut and my eyes open.
When the beaters got stuck in the batter, they both left the kitchen in favour of the backyard and the hammock. The batter waited. They returned.
In went the sprinkles. They mixed with their hands because the dough was “too hard”. More laughter. They dragged out the cookie sheets & argued about how big to make the cookies. Then they talked about how much they might spread and how many could go in each row. I managed to say nothing and laugh inwardly.
And now the cookies are baking. They look pretty darn good – and I have a suspicion that the boys might declare them the best cookies ever. They’ll probably be right.