It all started with a trip to our favorite bakery. At this point we’ve been going there for about two years, every Thursday during our trips to the local children’s museum. My daughter, only a few years old at the time, eagerly watches the bakers as they knead, roll, slice and frost.
We do a ton of cooking and baking in our home, but my style is littered with shortcuts and based off of convenience. I’m nowhere in the same league as the real bakers, who work with a patience that is beyond me.
The bakery has a large, open kitchen where you can watch the employees at work. Colette is always one to notice the little details and she’s immediately drawn in by just how attentive the employees are. They put the same amount of focus and attention-to-detail into their baked goods as they do their customers: friendly smiles and quick, attentive service.
She’s motivated to mimic her favorite employees and as soon as we get home she asks if she can bake something, too.
“And though she be but little, she is fierce.” I’m reminded of this as she pushes her stepstool across the floor, the one as tall as she is, and carefully climbs up. Without it she’s too short to see over the counter, but when she stands on the buttom rung she’s just the right height.
It’s amazing how her tiny hands are learning how to clumsily manuever equipment. I do the peeling and cutting but she’s eager to participate and so, with my help, she adds cinnamon to the apples in the sautee pan, half watching what she’s doing but mostly keeping her eyes on me, waiting for approval.
When I’m in the kitchen with my four year old I’m in a constant state of amazement. To her every little thing is important because it’s all so brand new. In her eyes the potential is endless of what she can create, and I have to reign in all of that wonder and curiosity and help her translate that into something tangible – and delicious.
Technically I’m the one teaching her, but what no one else witnesses is all that she’s teaching me. She’s a constant reminder to me to pay attention to even the tiniest details, and despite the fact that she only comes up to my waist, her passion is contageous. Every time I step in the kitchen with her I’m inspired to do something more and I’m eager to have my companion join me.
We’re making apple crisp, it’s simple enough for a child and packed with enough good-for-you ingredients that I don’t mind her eating the entire batch herself. And now we’re learning how to make whipped cream and she’s weighing in her mind whether she should add vanilla or cinnamon.
It’s tricky and she stammers back and forth a few times before ultimately deciding on cinnamon.
It’s pretty inspiring how much food affects us, not just in body but also in spirit. In the “Out of the Kitchen” series by BonAppetit.com you can see about how passion and attention to detail can make all of the difference.
Want to meet purveyors who are making a difference with their customers? Check out BonAppetit.com’s “Out of the Kitchen”, an ongoing exploration of the relationships that build and sustain the food industry. See how hyper-local food markets operate and how their focus on quality and service keep customers coming back for more.