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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Midnight Chef Strikes Again

Gummy Bear Pancakes
At four, Benjamin is already one hard-core chef. Really. He makes those iron chefs look like a pack of uninspired sissies. Indeed, since he was a tiny little guy, he has been creating uh... spectacular...spectacles?
And he truly is inspired. When he wants to put ketchup and Fruit Loops dust in his pancake batter, there is no dissuading him otherwise. When he dumps a jar of purplish baby food into the cake batter, it is no accident. He seems to know exactly what he is doing. And oddly enough, he is a pretty capable little cook.
When I discovered he had been sneaking out of bed to cook at the age of two, I knew then he had chosen cooking as his career. Although he probably harbored infantile aspirations to chef-dom long before this, I had no clue.  But really, how much can a culinary kid do with breast milk?
Initially, I had no idea my toddler had been sneaking out of bed to cook while I was sleeping, but I admit it was more than once that I peered into my kitchen in the early morning hours and warily eyed an open refrigerator door or an odd collection of food items left on the kitchen counter. I was quite uncomfortable with the idea that there were goings-on in the kitchen while I slept at night.
So I deluded myself: Could this possibly be that Ambien-induced amnesia my doctor mentioned? Could cockroaches have carefully unwrapped those six chicken bouillon cubes as part of some weird insect worship ritual? Well, why not? After all, it is a known fact that they are clever enough to survive nuclear fallout.
You get the idea.
My days of kitchen-intruder denial quickly ended the morning I encountered a mixing bowl containing 11 perfectly cracked eggs and one tiny piece of eggshell. There were no traces of raccoon. There is no way Pacific Northwest cockroaches could stack empty eggshells into a Lego tower quite that tall. And I cannot crack an egg that cleanly--Ambien or not.
So I knew it had to be Benjamin. That is the moment that I had to face the facts; my two year old was the midnight chef.
The rest of the story is predictable.
And, here it is....Benjamin's very own cooking blog: Ninny-Free Cooking Lessons. He will contribute periodically as he discovers new recipes to share with the little midnight chefs roaming about in your house. 
From time to time, I might throw in a bit of mommy cooking advice. If he allows it, of course.

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