Yes, I often have a cooking activity when I’m with my grandchildren. Once, flipping through my neighbor’s children’s cookbook (she, unlike me, gets great joy and satisfaction from cooking for and feeding people), I found a recipe for banana caterpillars. They had a great time making them,but at the time, Alan didn’t like peanut butter, so he wouldn’t eat his. At Christmas, we made a gingerbread house. (I bought a kit. On sale). After the holiday, I put the house down on a clean tablecloth and gave them a hammer. Bam! Those things taste like cardboard, but there was enough sugar and candy that they scarfed it down anyway. I’ll stamp out a few cookies with them, too, and let them drizzle them over with watery powdered sugar colored with food coloring. I can be fun, but I’m hardly the epitome of grandmotherly baking.
In any case, when he greeted me at the airport, Alan’s first question was, was I going to cook that evening. No, not for two more days, after his parents left. I do not not cook when I visit. I’m not entirely devoid of shame, I do cook when I have visitors, or I, you know, call for takeout. Still, when we picked Alan up at daycare the next day, the daycare worker said she had heard I was going to cook. Somehow, I’ve made an impression.
When Alan went to daycare the next day, Suzie, who was on Spring break, went to the older kids’ camp. I checked with my daughter, "Did you tell them you and their Dad would be gone when I pick them up?"
“What was their reaction?”
So that part was okay. I picked them up early, still puzzling over what I was going to prepare for dinner. We played outside for a while, and I settled them in front of a cartoon while I went to work in the kitchen. Eggs are okay for dinner, right? Then Egg-in-a hole it is, with the heart shaped cut-outs toasted and served on the side and a few fresh strawberries on the plate. Suzie was enthusiastic. Alan glowed. They ate every bite.
Chef Nana, that’s me. I may cook with desperation, but you all know the secret ingredient: love.