Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Ants, Tongs, and other Kitchen Endeavors

Cooking is often an adventure in, and of, itself. Throw in my husband, it becomes laughable. Mix in my toddler, and it becomes a runaway train ride that should not be missed. We tend to converge in the kitchen when dinner preparations are underway, and this past Sunday was no exception.

We'd harvested several handfuls of green beans over the course of the weekend. Ardis had discovered that even she was capable of helping to pick the green beans from the viney plants. We planted "Contender" bush beans, which may be becoming my favorite green bean variety (taking the place of my grandmother's much encouraged "White Half Runner" pole beans). In addition to being able to help bring in the harvest, Ardis discovered that she was able to help snap the beans. She seemed to get a good deal of satisfaction from the pop! each bean made. Ardis got a good deal of satisfaction from sampling the raw beans as we worked, too. I'm fairly certain that many of the beans that made it into the final pot for cooking had been pre-nibbled.

We chose to make fried green tomatoes to join our green beans. Jesse procured a selection of tomatoes from the garden. I think that he'd meant to put a few in the window for later. However, he got lost in the rhythm of slicing the tomatoes, and sliced every single one- all 6 of them. We'd picked the second squash on Wednesday, and it had been waiting for this all week. A little fried squash never hurt anyone, right? However, when Jesse took it from its space on the window ledge nestled amongst the tomato menagerie and lightly squeezed it, tiny ants began to flood out of a non-existent hole at the stem. After the shock has dissipated, the squash had been disposed of, and the window seal had been scoured for little buggies, I realized how comical and terrifying the situation would have been if Jesse had actually made his way to the cutting board with the ant-bomb.

Ardis helped to stir up the batter, and we were able to set up our assembly line along the counter. Ardis was assigned the job of putting the "bamatoes" in the batter and stirring them up. She began dropping them in by hand but, quickly, confiscated my tongs so that she could use them to drop the green slices into the batter. Her tong usage morphed while she waited for the tomatoes to be moved from batter to the frying pan. She took her time unstacking the slices and lining the circles up along the cutting board so they were "in line to take their turn." I enjoyed getting to give her a lesson that helped to include her in our kitchen time. Jesse chose to give her multiple lessons on "sampling" the fried green tomatoes while we finished cooking. Needless to say, 6 green tomatoes, several handfuls of green beans, and 25 minutes later, we had a great and very simple meal from our own garden. With any luck, we'll have many more before the end of summer.

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