The next skill, at 24 months, is dumping the flour out of the measures, followed by dry mixing a month later, and wet mixing at 2 1/2 years.
At three, Paula could neatly break an egg. A four year old can beat an egg white with a whisk (you'll probably do the finishing work, though).
Needless to say, cookie cutting is well within the reach of even an 18 month old, and motivation is no problem here...
Kneading bread dough is one job where a small pair of hands is a real handicap: small people can work only a small lump of dough. But small hands can form and braid the tiniest challah. When one of the grownups was making bread, Paula and Tobias each got an orange-sized lump of dough to knead and sculpt. Paula usually braided and Tobias would make a steam engine. When the engine rises it loses its shape entirely, but that's an adult hangup-Tobias happliy ate his bread train without remorse for its formlessness.
Biscuits and Scones: the usual breakfast in bed offering for Mom.
Breads: Incredible as it sounds we bake nearly ALL of our bread-twice or thrice a week, four to six loaves per bake-yes, we eat a lot of bread here.
Cookies: These are the province of Mom and the kids often after school, but again Dad will join in when he's able.
Birthday Cakes- Marion Cunningham's Buttermilk Chocolate Cake, is the all time winner in our house. It's easy enough for a child to mix with just supervision, and contains no eggs, so it's ok for little fingers to sample in the bowl.
And once the cake is made, decorating it is a second project. Paula, who has known exactly what she's wanted since birth, designed Mom's birthday cake all by herself when she was 7. I helped with the execution, but she dictated every aspect, from the diameter of each layer to the color of the edge piping and flowers on each layer.
Birthday cakes are the only place that food coloring is allowed in this house- we use grape jelly and Mascarpone or creme fraiche (stiffened with 10X sugar) to make Barbie Hot Pink, and blueberry preserves for Little Boy Blue, but the rest of the pallete is made with Wilton's gel colors. After all, it's only once a year!
Copyright 2001 Jonathan S. White - All rights reserved.