Our kids, all of them are growing up (supposedly). Some days Wife and I question this, other days children tell us they are ready to try something they’ve never tried before.
The Oppressed recently told us she was ready to try something new. She wanted to cook dinner. Our youngest daughter picked a challenging night to try cooking dinner. We were having steak.
It’s August. It’s summer. That means we throw steaks on the grill. That means teaching The Oppressed how to work the grill and cook the steaks. If that was all we needed to be worried about, we would still have our hands full. Like other meals, we weren’t just having steak. We were also having baked potatoes and broccoli.
The Oppressed made it abundantly clear to me that she, and nobody else, would cook dinner. She would allow advice and answers to questions if she had any, but this was her gig, and she (and nobody else) would be doing the cooking.
Potatoes and Broccoli
We began with heating the oven for the potatoes and the broccoli. After that, we pulled the steaks out of the refrigerator to take the chill off. The potatoes were easy. We just needed to poke them with a knife and put them in the oven.
The broccoli required a little more effort and ingredients. We originally intended to use olive oil, salt, and pepper. Unfortunately, some of the children saw The Oppressed going to work and immediately decided their input was needed when it came to what to add to the broccoli.
Soon the spice drawer was emptied out and multiple cherubs were trying to add other seasonings and flavors to the dish. One child made it past me while I was telling people we didn’t need so much input or spices. The child that did make it through added garlic.
Steaks on the Grill
With broccoli and potatoes in the oven (we decided to cook everything and reheat the broccoli later), it was time to focus on the steak. I went outside to turn on the grill while The Oppressed went to work and seasoned the steaks. When I returned to the house, The Oppressed demanded to know where I went and let me know how upset she was that I had turned on the grill. She reminded me she was doing everything.
I tried to explain to her that the grill had to be warmed up before putting the meat on. This didn’t matter, of course. I should have told her it was time to turn on the grill before applying the seasonings. What’s done was done, and I told her I would be mindful of that the next time. She had informed me there would be a next time, but we’ll get to that later.
We get to the grill. I run back into the house to grab a beer because I’m grilling and it’s a rule to have a beer while grilling. The Oppressed allows me to put the steaks on the grill, as they are big, and she is struggling a little with the tongs. That’s all I can do, though.
Pouring a Beer
A beer is poured by me, not the boy. The Boy emerges and lets me know he’s upset that I poured a beer without telling him. He wanted to pour the beer for me.
Daddy sips on his beer, reflecting on how The Boy has been let down. I turn a steak over to see if it’s done on one side. The Oppressed demands to know what I’m doing if she is the one who’s cooking dinner. I surrender the fork to my daughter, who gives me a suspicious look and focuses on the grill, checking on the meat.
I let The Boy know I’m ready for another beer. He forgives me for my previous transgression and proceeds to open the beer and pour. He is still learning this art, and there is more foam than beer. I give it a couple of minutes for the head to die down a little.
Steaks are done by the time the second beer is finished. They are brought in by The Oppressed and her father. I begin to set the table until my daughter pushes me away. She reminds me she is the one preparing dinner. I tell her forks on the left, knives on the right. The Oppressed puts a finger to her lips and say, “Sshh!” Everyone sits down at the table, set by The Oppressed. Dinner passes with the entire family.
Pork on the Grill
The Oppressed was so proud of herself, she decided to prepare dinner the next night. I would be allowed to help a little, but this was her job, and she would be the one to do it.
The next night’s menu was pork. I went to the store to buy some marinade and prepared the meat. Beer was taken out for The Boy to pour. He poured it. Big head. I turned the grill on and gave it a minute to warm up while the head tamed down.
There was a slight challenge when I opened the grill to put down the pork. The fire was out. This was a small problem, and the children and I closed up the containers of marinating pork and went inside. The Boy wanted to carry my beer. I told him I would do it.
One night was grilling. Another night was cooking on the stove top. Two different methods of cooking that required different sets of skills and attention. I watched The Oppressed watch the meat and the clock. I told her when to turn the meat. She had a little trouble handling the utensils. I attempted to step in and assist, but she put up her hand, informing me she had a handle on things. I backed away and sipped my tasty beverage while she continued cooking.
We all sat down to dinner. Pork, french fries, and corn. Again, everyone raved about the efforts of The Oppressed. She had been wanting to make dinner for everyone for a long time and finally got to do it. After two successful meals, I think everyone is looking forward to her next effort.