Monday, June 6, 2011
"I'm so bored of our dinners," Mum said. "We always eat the same things. I have challenge for you girls."
This made us prick up our ears. Challenges are always fun.
"I want you to take our new cookbook and each choose two new recipes to cook."
At once there was a mad scramble for the book, which resulted in us all sitting round the table, the younger girls peering over my shoulder as I flipped the pages. Our mouths watered as we read the titles, and our tummies rumbled as we scrutinised the pictures.
"Well," I said. "What would you like to cook?"
The other three looked at each other blankly. "I don't know," Charlotte finally admitted.
So, I flipped straight back to the start and we went back through. As we went, we noted down names that sounded interesting. By the time we reached the end again, we had compiled a list of twelve dinners. One by one we chose our meals.
"If you make a list of ingredients I'll get them today," Mum offered.
So it was back to the book, pencil at the ready. Many ingredients later, the list was finished.
We could hardly wait for the next day to arrive. We'd be able to start our new meals.
"Who's cooking first?" Mum wanted to know. After a bit of thought, we decided to let Gemma-Rose go first.
Evening arrived and Gemma-Rose ran into the kitchen, excitement written all over her face. I opened the cookbook, and read out the ingredient list. She darted back and forth like a bee, fetching everything to the side.
"Ok," I said. "First you have to cut the ham steaks."
I stood next to her, watching fearfully as she cut her way through the stack of ham steaks.
"Careful," I warned her every ten seconds or so. "Don't cut your fingers off."
She threw me a look of scorn each time, as if to say, "I'm a big girl now. Stop fussing so much."
Finally, much to my relief, the knife work was done. Slowly and carefully she beat eggs, poured cream, stirred things on the stove, and mixed things on the side. Wonderful aromas filled the air. I sniffed it and my stomach rumbled. It smelt so good I wanted to eat it there and then.
Later, we sat at the table. Gemma-Rose watched anxiously as we all took our first bites.
"Is it ok?" she asked.
"Wow, this is really good," Mum said. "You've done really well."
Next time it was Charlotte's go. But this time I wasn't around to help. As I went out the door, I was still giving her instructions, hoping frantically that she would be able to manage. Not long before dinner, Dad and I arrived back home to find another delicious dinner sitting waiting for us. Charlotte was flushed with excitement and hard work.
"You've cooked this to perfection," I said to her. She just grinned back.
Tonight we had another of our new dinners. Charlotte and I cooked for Sophie because she wasn't very well. It smelt so good as it sat cooking on the stove.
"It's rather like a chilli con carne," I observed, as Charlotte pushed it around the pan.
"I know I'm going to like it," she replied.
In fact, everyone liked it. Mum's new recipe book was a great success. We look forward to making more delicious dinners out of it. Who knows? Maybe we'll be able to convince Mum that it's a good idea to dip into the dessert section.