Calder loves to bake. If it were up to him he would bake a batch of sugar cookies every day. This is a bit of a problem since I have a serious sweet tooth (and that butter seems to be so pricey). When needed we give the confections away. He doesn't so much like to eat his creations, but rather just likes to bake. I try to support our sweet little baker and extend his love of baking into other things that I am preparing in the kitchen. He will help me prepare meals and generaly just wants to be in the kitchen with me pretending to help out, even if this just means making me a cup of earl grey tea, or a french press pot of coffee while I am cooking his dinner. How far can I take this, how adventurous is my little chef? Well, tonight I was making soup. Not just any simple comfort soup that MAYBE there would be a chance in heck he would maybe try...one day...one cold winter day.....in his teen years. No...it was Tom Yum Goong, a Thai hot and sour prawn soup.
In this soup there are many unusual ingrediants that I needed to hunt and seek out, mostly at Pacific Mercantile in Denver, an Asian grocery. You'de think if I was going to go through all this trouble that I would actually follow the recipe......here's the pathetic part (and yes I am going out on a tangent now), the soup is basically a prawn soup. Prawn meaning shrimp. I have shrimp sitting in our freezer. But they are my last dear two ziploc bags of gulf shrimp that I carried back on the plane from a trip to Mississippi....so, I thought I'll just buy some unfrozen shrimp, just enough for the soup. When I got to Whole Foods (the only place I will buy shrimp here in land locked New Mexico) well, the prices were just ridiculous....so I opted for calamari......yup, tastless squid. It was only $6.99/lb. Hey squid is seafood. I am infamous for altering recipes and it is almost always a disaster. I had an agreement with myself that I would never alter a recipe again... I am not naturally gifted in the culinary arts and can not create well in the kitchen. Regardless, the soup turned out limey and peppery and that is about it.
But the beautiful thing is I got Calder to help with the slimey strange seafood. I think the only thing that made this possible was that squid when cut makes really neat circle shapes, which Calder loves. As I cut the small circles he would take each one and put it in the soup. Wow, he has come a long way. No he didn't eat it, and probably never will. But touching food is one of the 38 steps it takes to eventually eat food. And he touched it! This is a kid who would gag when just stirring up the ingrediants to make spinach quiche. Some folks may teach their kids not to touch/play with their food, but in our house it is encouraged.