Grandfather Knows Best?
By Jerry Zezima
Because I am so culinarily challenged that both the fire department and the nearest emergency room have to be on alert whenever I try to get creative in the kitchen, I will never be a short-order cook.
But my 3-year-old granddaughter, Chloe, has all the ingredients to be one: She’s short, she follows orders and, as it turns out, she can cook.
I discovered this recently when Chloe stayed overnight with me and my wife, Sue, who’s pretty hot in the kitchen. She does all the cooking in our house with the exception of Saturday morning breakfast, which I make for myself because Sue, perhaps wisely, thinks it’s safer to have just a muffin and a cup of coffee.
I prefer to have a lot to eat because breakfast is one of my three favorite meals of the day. So I fire up the stove and make eggs and sausage.
On this particular morning, Chloe was there to lend a little helping hand.
First, we got up, which is always recommended if you want to have breakfast or, generally, a long life. On weekends, I like to sleep in (which is better than sleeping out, especially if it’s raining) and get up in time to have a late breakfast. The best thing about having a late breakfast is that as soon as you’re done, it’s time for lunch.
Chloe, on the other hand, likes to get up with the chickens, whose eggs we would be using to make an early breakfast.
We chose two eggs, a white one and a brown one.
“The brown one has a nice tan,” I told Chloe.
“A nice tan!” she repeated.
Then she got her little step stool, which she ordinarily uses to wash her hands after going potty, and brought it into the kitchen. She stepped up so she could reach the counter and, carefully following my instructions, which I often don’t follow too carefully myself, cracked the white egg. It started to run, so I helped her dump the contents, including a few small pieces of shell, into a glass bowl.
“Be careful or the yolk will be on you,” I said.
Chloe didn’t get Poppie’s lame joke, but she giggled anyway.
She did the same when I said, “Don’t shoot until you see the whites of my eggs.”
Sue, who was within earshot, rolled the whites of her eyes.
We repeated the process (minus the jokes) with the brown egg.
Next I asked Chloe to place three sausage links in a pan. Only two came out of the box.
“Where’s the other one?” I asked Chloe. “It must be the missing link.”
At this, Sue exited the kitchen.
Chloe fished the third link out of the box and placed it in the pan, which I put on the stove. I turned on the heat.
“Be careful, Honey,” I said. “It’s hot.”
“It’s hot, Poppie!” Chloe declared as she turned her attention back to the eggs, which she whipped into a creamy mixture with a whisk. She did a much better job than I usually do.
Then I got another pan, into which Chloe poured the eggs. I put the pan on the stove, next to the one with the sausage, and returned to the counter to slice a bagel before putting it in the toaster.
“Do you know what kind of bagel this is?” I asked Chloe. When she was stumped, I said, “Poppie seed!”
“Poppie seed!” she echoed with a big smile.
After Chloe used a wooden spoon to stir the eggs in the pan to a perfect consistency, I placed them, along with the sausage and the toasted bagel, on a plate. Then we went over to the kitchen table, where she sat on my lap to share a delicious breakfast.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Chloe got her own cooking show. Until then, I can proudly say that making eggs with her is a delightfully mad scramble.
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