You can’t manipulate boiling water and weapons sharp enough for firm vegetables without relying on a certain amount of trust.
Chop Chop, Peel Peel.
My son peeled carrots, and my little girl chopped them up with a knife.
I didn’t know they could do that.
The recipe came from my brother-in-law’s ex-girlfriend, and is called Delicious Carrot Soup. Frankly, I thought it was a little weird the first time I read it. It has orange juice in it, at least concentrate. Also ginger, like the real honest-to-goodness ginger, the kind that you buy in chunks at the grocery store.
Like I said, weird.
You take a chance with a dish like this and kids.
I ask myself, will they eat it? It isn’t their usual type of thing.
Am I setting us all up for a disappointing round of try-this-no-really-I-mean-it-try-it-or-else?
They sure did love preparing it. Why wouldn’t they? It’s an awesome process.
The ingredients of the soup have to be chopped, peeled, boiled, then placed into a blender. After blending there is more mixing and cooking on the stovetop. It is no accident they chose to put national soup day in early February. For many of us the weather is icy and harsh. The evenings are as dark as midnight, and the cold tries to push its way in through any available opening. It is the perfect time of year to fill the kitchen with steam, and the smell of fresh carrots disassembling in boiling hot water.
I used to worry that they wouldn’t eat the soup, that it was too much veg for such young palates to be willing to give it a decent chance. That was before I learned why I was really doing it.
As a therapist, I talk a lot about Content & Process.
To put it simply, Content is what we do, and Process is how and why we do it.
If we are talking about household chores, the content might be a discussion about a rotating assignment for dish duty. Who will wash, who will dry, how are we going to administrate the change, who will fill in if the assigned family member is at scouts, or martial arts? All the practical sides of things are covered by the content of that activity.
Process is a different, more complex, ball of wax. The process of the dishes discussion refers to how we treat each other. This includes the presence, or lack, of respect. It covers elements like tone of voice, requesting vs threatening, autocratic or autonomous. The process of a conversation is more emotional, and therefore more important in determining what we take with us when the interaction is done.
Chopping and peeling fresh carrots (that’s fresh carrots, keep it fresh people!) with two young children naturally requires communication. They needed teaching to make this happen.
You can teach a child with an angry tone, but it doesn’t work very well. So I found myself trying to slow the proceedings down, using a patient tone. Taking more calming breaths than usual, which probably means the correct amount for working with my kids.
If I had believed this was about producing soup, I discovered that I was wrong.
The soup wasn’t all that important. What we were actually doing was accomplishing the elusive family task of spending time together. The kind of time that requires intimacy.
You cannot manipulate dangerously heated water and weapons sharp enough to conquer firm vegetables without relying on a certain amount of trust.
You have to trust the kids to listen to you, and you have the opportunity to show them the trust that exists between you and their other parent. When my wife and I negotiate the confines of our small kitchen together successfully, our children can catch a glimpse of the way people can work together.
Taking the plunge to cook soup, or anything else, with your kids is not without its risks. But isn’t that what parenting is really about, taking a chance on something that you cannot predict? In the end it doesn’t even matter if they will eat it, as long as they can find something to love about the process.
They may show you something about themselves you didn’t know.
If you take the time to invite them to chop and peel.
Here’s the recipe:
• 2 lbs. of Carrots, diced
• 2 Medium Onions, diced
• 2-3 Thumbs of ginger, diced
• 3 cans of vegetable stock (enough to cover the above ingredients within a pot)
• 2/3-1 full can of frozen Orange Juice Concentrate
• 2/3 Quart of Cream
• Salt & Pepper (to taste)
1. Place Carrots, Onions, Ginger, and Vegetable Stock in a Soup Pot that will hold them and will make you happy. Add more stock if dry ingredients are not covered.
2. Cover and cook until veggies are completely tender (about 20 minutes at most elevations).
3. Pour the entire contents of the pot into a blender. Blend it until it is … well…blended.
4. Pour back into the Happy Soup Pot, then reheat while adding Orange Juice, Cream, Salt & Pepper (the spices, not the music).
5. Serve it.
Or don’t…if you still think the soup is the main point, re-read the article.
Photo credit: Flickr/ff7RoE/