Saturday, January 03, 2009

Cooking Lesson with My 19 Year-Old Son

Jordan is home on "Christmas" break which lasts, believe it or not, until January 14. That means he has been here since December 18. That is one honkin' long break, if you ask me. Makes me wanna sign up for college again for the long breaks you get where people do your laundry and feed you, and you are mainly responsible for playing with the dog and opening presents. Tough life.

Anyway. He just may move into an apartment his junior year, which means he won't be eating in the dining hall. Which also means, of course, that he will stock up on beef jerky, frozen pizza, and Skittles, to avoid scurvy.

But I'm trying to fulfill the motherly duty of teaching him to cook a little something so that once in a while he can eat healthily.

Rrrrriiiiiip. Stop right there. Re-read that last sentence and feel the implication:

I'm going to teach him to cook
.

Oh, that is dangerous on so many levels, not the least being risking black lung from the fumes of burnt food.

So we began with something it took me years to master: Rice-a-Roni and Shake-N-Bake pork chops. I know. I almost started with something simpler but still challenging, like Banquet pot pies.

But I threw caution to the wind, called him in and said, "You're going to cook now," which is kind of like throwing your kid in the pool, I know.

With one eye cast back toward the football game on TV in the family room, he said, "OK."

I said, "First, of course, wash your hands."

He said: "I just took a shower."

Me: "And what have you touched since then?"

He looked insulted.

Me: "Your nose? Have you touched your nose?"

Him: "I just took a shower."

After a 5-second silent stand-off, he washed his hands. Good thing, because I didn't want to go all Gordon Ramsay [Hell's Kitchen] on him right off the bat.

I read through the Rice-a-Roni directions with him, but more importantly, I sang the commercial jingle to him because legally, you can't make Rice-a-Roni without singing that jingle. I think that is actually printed on the box somewhere.

He was not impressed.

We made the rice, and while it was cooking, we started on the pork chops.

Me: "Get the chops out of the fridge."

Him: "Are these chops?"

Me: Silently worried that the boy couldn't positively ID a chop.

"Yes. OK, here is the tricky part: Trichinosis. Remember this catch phrase: 'Don't be tricked by trichinosis.'" Then I launched into a 10 minute lecture on undercooked meat, esp. pork.

I may have inadvertently turned him into a vegan.

So I walked him through the intricacies of throwing a chop into a bag and shaking it.

But before we could put it in the oven, I had to stop and review the Shake-N-Bake commercial from when I was little complete with Dinah Shore accent: "It's Shike-N-Bike Mama, and I hay-ulped!"

He was not impressed for the second time.

Tough crowd. I remember when a line like that would send him rolling on the floor with laughter. See what happens when ya send 'em off to college? They get all uppity.

Anyway, it all came out OK, and he ate it in spite of "images of trichinosis dancing in his head," so I'd say it was a success.

And now I leave you with a couple of blasts from the past:

1. hear the Rice-a-Roni jingle.

2. I could not find the little blonde southern girl who hay-ulped her mama, but I did find this. Do you remember what kids' TV show this actress was in?

46 comments:

Kerri said...

Ok, that is toooo funny of a post!!! I can very much relate because I have a 21 year old son who lives in a dorm but doesn't use the dining facility. So, he's become a wise chef using a Crockpot!! (Get your son one of those...he'll thank you tons!) He calls at the weirdest times asking for recipes and then he'll call from the Safeway by his dorm, asking where he can find kidney beans! Having never been there, I haven't a CLUE. But I made a guess..."next to the chili." Whew...10 PM phone calls from college! When I went down to San Francisco in October, I visited him and his dorm room, plus the famous Safeway. I now have the store layout memorized! I also went on the famous cable car and SANG the Rice-A-Roni jingle going down the street. My son pretended he didn't have a clue who I was that trip! hahahaha. My words of advice: put together a recipe book of his favorite things you make because he'll want to know how to make them, buy a basic cookbook (Better Homes and Gardens is great!) and the one "Where Is Mom when I need her?" has been well used, too! :) Happy 2009 to you!! (thanks for the coffee!!!)

Hillary said...

Ooooh! Ooooh! Me! Me! I know!

She was on "Electric Company!" I miss that show. :)

Chel's Leaving a Legacy said...

Okay, wait a minute. Has it ever occurred to you that MAYBE the reason you're always burning your food is because you are constantly looking up commercials at the same time???

I'm just asking.

:-)

I look forward to days like these.

Chel's Leaving a Legacy said...

And oh yeah...it was the Electric Company!

We're gonna turn it on....
We're gonna bring you the power...
la la la la la la la.....

It's late; I'd better quit.

Susanne said...

LOL. For a split second I thought you were going to tell us you were teaching him to cook ham.

The two of you are too funny. I wish I could have been a fly on your kitchen wall tonight. LOL.

Elizabeth Bonds said...

She looks like the jungle lady from the old Sesame Street spin off.

Melanie @ This Ain't New York said...

Mister Rogers? I am at a loss.

Just teach him how to make a great spaghetti sauce. It's cheap and easy. Not a slogan you'll see on a Ragu jar.

Becky said...

LOL, I recognize her but don't know from where... may not of watched her show. Question... why does shake and bake come in such a big box now?

My Love is all into shake and bake... It was the first thing he ever cooked for me. He thought it was real fancy. Coincidentally, I think you and my MIL would have gotten along real nice ;-)

Linds said...

I empathise. My 19 year old is also home for his Christmas break. 19th Dec till 19th Jan. Did you READ that??? A whole month! I want to go to college again too. We need to start a support group.

Kim said...

I had forgotten that Shake 'n Bake commercial. Shake 'n Bake is my special friend. Using it is the only guarantee we'll have juicy and not dry pork chops. Otherwise you have to be all like good with timers and temperatures and stuff.

I applaud your bravery in tackling teach-the-son-to-cook lessons! Trying to teach a child anything at that age comes with its own special challenge: They already know everything!

A Stone Gatherer said...

I can't remember the actress!!!! Sounds like a fun day of cooking lessons! I try to teach my 12 year old to make a grilled cheese and he about goes NUTS! Oh the joys of making them ready for life!!!

Susan Storm Smith said...

Absolutely loved the blog today! I sang right along with you. And think of the days when I took on the task of teaching my two daughters (8 & 9 at the time) friends to cook. The joy :-) We still laugh about it.

Now I'll that that Rice-a-Roni in my head all day!

Patrice said...

Ahahahahaha! I so can relate!

My oldest is a Junior in HS and I thought I would trek down the good mom trail and teach him to wash his laundry so he would have a one up in the dorm!

I quit! We have went beyond starting at baby step and now instead of washing clothes, hubby and I decided that it would be wise to start with folding! Still a great quest!!

Cooking, he is not allowed in my kitchen, well he can retreive a fork to eat with, but that's it!

Angie Ledbetter said...

I think we may be living parallel lives! The 19-y.o. princess here (no, she did not move out to go to college. It's free here and she gets laundry, food & cable!) wants to learn to cook too. We started with gumbo with the Thanksgiving turkey carcass and moved right along to bananner puddin'. Like your little prince, she did not appreciate my jingle-singing or commentary either. Her 18-y.o. brother has no desire to cook. Informed me yesterday when I fussed him for not making his own grilled cheese sandwich that his girlfriend du jour could do that. (It's genetic. Dad only cooks when fire or danger are involved.) *sigh*

Merrie said...

I'm at a loss for words! I do remember the little blonde who hay-ulped... my kids often quote her and then roll on the floor...
also, Rice-a-roni... fun memories.
You are such a good and wonderful mother to teach the history that goes along with the food. It always makes it taste better.
Happy New Year!

Rhonda said...

Good for you teaching your son to cook. I've had good intentions that have gotten no where. (is 'gotten' a word?)

I cheated. I googled the actress to see what children's show she'd been in. I just couldn't recognize her. But I won't spoil it for everyone else.

RosyRose said...

you are so hillarious! Oh the joy of college kids learning to cook:)

Mocha with Linda said...

Argghh! Now I've got the Rice-a-Roni song on my brain and I didn't even click on it! At least you didn't also use Campbell's soup or Oscar Mayer weiners!

I have never used Shake N Bake in my life. Nor did my mom. I hope we can still be friends.

When I was in college, I had a good friend who had a recipe for Beans & Franks from his mom on his first apartment refrigerator:
1. Cut up weiners.
2. Open can of beans.
3. Put beans in can.
4. Put weiners in beans.
5. Heat on stove until hot.

I kid you not. It cracked me up.

Dena said...

I agree on the long breaks with college. Mine have been home the same amount of time as Jordan. What a life huh? The only thing mine have done differently is sleeping till noon every day.

To avoid the trichinosis worries, buy him a meat thermometer. My kids know I'm a fanatic about 160 degrees.

Oh, and I am way too young to possibly know who that actress could be. It's not Hannah Montana, that much I do know.

Mel said...

Yes the break is long, my 19 yr old will be leaving on 1/6, but has been here since 12/10...I will miss him dearly but my food bill will decrease exponetially.

You are cracking me up, I was teaching my older two how to make tuna cassarole...they are actually good cooks but prefer anything that goes into the microwave that requires no energy.

Chatty Kelly said...

My sister (ADHD) makes Rice-A-Roni at least once a week for her kids, and she says she involuntarily sings the jingle every time. LOL! That is what you call Marketing genius, those Rice-a-Roni people.

Chatty Kelly said...

By the way, I'd tell "Henry" to make his own dang dinner. :-)

40winkzzz said...

My 21-y/o college kid is absolutely not interested in learning to cook, even tho he does live off campus. He works at Pizza Hut, so I guess he figures he's all set. I do remember him being interested at about age 12, but his interest was squelched by his own decision to use green ketchup (remember that?) in the sloppy joes, which produced some mugly-looking meat and made him swear off cooking forever.

I think I write more on other peoples' blogs these days than I do on my own.

The Shake-&-Bake commercial I remember had TWINS with Southern accents. I have been known to burst out with "It's shike and bike and we hay-ulped!" for no apparent reason, and no amount of explanation will convince my kids that i am not off my rocker. Commercials have come a LONG way in the last 30 years.

Did you leave a comment on my blog the other day? I get these anonymous comments from time to time and I'm pretty sure they're not *intended* to be anonymous.

sara said...

congrats on teaching him to cook without burning the house down!!! Alyssa came home this break determined to learn how to make the "family" recipes....on a holiday....when I have to serve them to other people! hmmmm, so I put my cooking pride aside and let her learn. She actually did very well.

to the boy, I say CROCKPOT!!! Or go have him look up the video on the Nu Wave Oven.....my mom has one and if she can work it at 77, I think your son could too!!!

Jan Ross said...

I can never look at a box of Rice-A-Roni without that jingle running through my head. Although I honestly didn't realize there was more to it than the first line!

Amy Wyatt said...

Linda,
When I was little everyone loved to hear me say that phrase. You can imagine with my southern accent I sounded just like the little girl on the commercial.
I had forgotten about it until I read your post today. Thanks for the laugh and the memory.

lmerie said...

I think I sang the rice a roni song to my first born, along with plop plop fiz fiz . . . It was late, I was a new mom, and for the life of me I could not remember any lullabys. So I went from Jesus Loves me to commercial jingles!

My step daughter is 21 and graduates in 4 months (do a little dance) . . .she was only interested in trying a recipe for mulled wine . . . and making grilled cheeses.

Now The Man is 12 and learned how to make spaghetti (from the jar) and boy was he proud of himself!

Tightening the Corset Again said...

My son made his first apple cobbler last night... it was pretty good!

The Shake-n-bake commercial never sounded southern to me... I guess because I'm from Georgia. We all talk like that.

I always remember Rice a roni being one of the prizes on the Price Is Right.

Happy Saturday!
heather

Tracie said...

Great post! First time to your space. I can almost imagine doing the same (the signing the jingle) and getting the "not impressed look" LOL I can't "hear" the video right now, (Because i'm at work & not allowed to have speaker) but the way that guy is holding that chicken is somewhat disturbing to me! LOL

annie's eyes said...

Oh the joys of teaching children to cook. I remember the first time I made pork chops, I thought they were cured because my mother had over-salted them. I somehow managed to learn, but my kids have the Pizza Hut number memorized in three states. I agree--looong break this time...As I speak we have three (3!) visiting dogs as well. We need to sit down with coffee after this break and or take a vacation to someplace tropical! Love you, A

Heather of the EO said...

I love your hilarity. I think you should just buy him a box or Ramen and call it good. :)

Julie said...

Now you've got me wanting to watch old commercials all day. Being a child of the 60's, I remember the Shake and Bake AND the Rice A Roni...

Sounds like your meal was a success. Now when is he cooking dinner for the family? lol

My 16 year old son can make a mean grilled cheese! lol

Tiff said...

LOL thanks for this blast from the past!!

Fragrant Liar said...

Oh, boy, do I remember those commercials. As kids, we were big into entertaining ourselves with our own commercial choir. Not only was there Rice-a-Roni, but Firestone (Wherever wheels are turning, no matter what the load, the name that's known is Firestone, da-da-da-da, where the rubber meets the road . . .) and Alka Seltzer, Oscar Mayer, etc. Brings back lots of memories, including my parents doing all the cooking, which is why my kids were forced to learn to cook -- my parents skipped that part of my training. The one thing that's true is this: when they're out of money and they're hungry, they will cook!

Happy new year.

KJ
http://fragrantliar.blogspot.com

Missy said...

Now that is funny only because I distinctly remember calling my mother from college and asking how to bake a potato. If your son is anything like I was...he's in big trouble ;)

Susan D said...

I love this story. I'm teaching my seven y/o grandson to cook and bake w/me. He's been my sous chef for over two years. Now he reads the recipes, helps gather the ingredients, and coaches me thru the steps. Great times. Blessings, Susan

Edwina at The Picket Fence said...

Sounds like you two made some memorable moments in the kitchen. Hold him tight and keep having fun, they grow up way too fast.

Carol @SheLives said...

Is 12y/o too young to teach 'em to cook? Or do I have to teach him how to wash his hands first? 'Cause we've been working on that one for a good long while now. I'm hoping he "gets it" before college.

'Lectric Company. Too bad I wasn't first today.

Brenda Susan said...

Ha! What a great post! You always crack me up Linda! One of the items on my older sons christmas list was "cereal bowls"!! He & his roommates are probably eating cereal 3 times a day! Scarey!

Lynn said...

Oh how I love your blog! This is my first time visiting. I started my blog in part to help my college-aged son figure out the cooking thing. So far he's mastered cheesecake and cookies and looooots of bbq recipes. He knows more ways to cook beef and chicken than I do. But vegetables? Not so much. (I also love your list of favorite books, by the way. We have the same taste in writers :) ) Thanks for the wonderful blog. I'll be back to visit soon.

Paula (SweetPea) said...

As I read this, I thought how it must me a riot to live in your house. There must never be a dull moment. I'm positive of that.

I about died at the part of him not recognizing a chop but almost becoming a vegan.

I'm clueless about the kid's tv program....let me see if I can cheat and see if any other readers's know.

skoots1mom said...

what a great idea...
good pics..
i think its funny how you match the picture thats hanging on the wall...were you dancing, too?
want to come take down my decorations, we'll have fun and a cup of coffee!

Sandra in Phx said...

You crack me up. I am sure that someday your son will look back on his cooking lesson with fond memories...or not.

Tammy said...

LOL! You are killing me here. And Rice-A-Roni (song singing in head) has always been a favorite. Can't tell you when I last cooked it though.

gitz said...

Oh my heaven, lady... you are freaking hilarious! So glad you stopped by my blog so I could find yours...

ann said...

I love it! Good ol' Shake N Bake. He washed those chops before he baked them, right? Gave 'em a good rinse?