Mike Dariano

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What braising can teach about raising kids (parenting)

I often cook with my kids but they really aren't helpful. If you need someone to splatter whatever is in your mixing bowl on the counter and lick the mixing utensil - probably before it's done mixing - you need my kids. Those are their skills, everything else gets in the way.

Or so I thought. When I first started letting them help in the kitchen I was still just thinking about the end result, that's why I was cooking, to end with something edible. This focus let to some frustrating moments and was a metaphor for some of my other parenting shortcomings. I was too focused on the end to appreciate the beginning. It didn't matter if there was granola or flour or whatever to sweep and that something didn't taste quite right. What mattered is that we were having fun, doing something together. There are still some things they don't get to help with - once they can julienne a pound of carrots it becomes a different story - so that we do have some edible, fully cooked meals. When they do help though, the cooking process is like the metaphorical meal where the people at the table are more important than the food. And if the dish turns out good then it's just desserts.

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