If A Rat Can Cook, Can I?

2964_render_RatatoulleOur boy routinely indicates he wants to learn how to cook. I, happy to teach him how to cook, get him in the kitchen where he mopes, plays, and complains. What does he complain about? To hot, to heavy, to much work, not enough work, and so on. I don’t mind the complaining as much as I mind the screwing around (playing) in the kitchen. Kitchens are no place to play. Way too many ways to hurt himself or other people, read me.

Lately, he has been demonstrating he is more responsible or maybe not so much responsible, but less likely to play in the kitchen. For the record, his sister is responsible in the kitchen, routinely walking by and correcting some point of her brother’s behavior, technique, or to offer up a pointer. Her last pointer, to practice using chopsticks “the way dad is showing you” in an empty pot because “practice makes perfect.”

With his new found less play in the kitchen has come renewed pleas to teach him how to cook. I do not know why ramen, spaghetti, taco meat, and making sandwiches is not enough for him. Curious, I asked what he wanted to cook. Expecting hamburgers or something easy, and not expecting anything Asian, I was floored when he said ratatouille.

“Like the movie?”


“You sure?”

“If a rat can make it, I can.”

Good logic. Except…there was a time when he saw another cartoon animal eating something and wanted that with the same logic; if an animal can make it I could make it. Don’t believe me, see here and here.

So yes, if a cartoon rat can cook it, I should be able to, but my ability to cook is not the point. My ability to teach the kids how to cook is and if he wants to cook rat-food (ha), I should encourage that. Shouldn’t I?

Off the shelves came the cookbooks. His only goal, to find a recipe for ratatoullie. Book one, Bourdain’s Le Halle, nope. Book two, Better Homes and Garden (I knew a no, but I wanted him to do the work), nope. Book three, Jacques Pepin, Fast Food or something along that lines (it was cheap and I wanted a non-Asian cookbook), yes. Hooray…not the same?

Jacques did have a recipe for ratatouille, but it did not look like the movie. Not good. Next step, teach the boy how to search the interwebs for a recipe. Nothing better than watching him with a copy of the movie in one hand and typing with the other. Thank you interwebs, less than a few seconds later he found this…


Next up, after having him read the recipe was to make a shopping list. A few moments later he wrapped up his list, which was everything, including water. I forgot to teach him to check for what we have first. Oops. While he waited for me to go through the list of what is needed verse what we have on hand, I asked him to come up with some side dishes. I am still waiting.


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