Monday, March 10, 2008

Breakfast with a guest blogger: my 13-year-old!

These days, "home economics" has morphed into "home and careers," and both boys and girls take the class. My son had a recent home and careers assignment to prepare a family breakfast and then write a report about the experience. Here's his report ... and some comments from me at the end.

MENU:

Banana Pancakes


Fruit Smoothies


Bacon


Shopping

I learned that there are many different brands you can choose from, and some brands are cheaper. This is not necessarily true for all recipes but for some it is. Some challenges were finding where the food is. If I hadn’t had a parent with me, shopping would’ve taken hours. My shopping trip was fun overall.

Bacon - 2.69
Vanilla Yogurt - 2.40
Sugar - .50
Strawberries - 3.00
Blueberries - 2.50
Butter - .50
Flour - .20
Baking Powder - .05
Salt - .01
Bananas - .25
Milk - .25
Eggs - .30
Vanilla extract - .10
Maple syrup - 1.00
Chocolate Chips - .50
Overall - 14.25

A restaurant probably would have cost about $59. When I heard this I was stunned. This shows that the taste is the same but restaurants charge four times more.


Table Setting

The table setting I did in the morning before I started cooking. I included the plate, napkin, fork, knife, and spoon. The centerpiece was two stuffed animals holding the syrup.

Grade Yourself

I have learned that making breakfast is not as easy as it seems. My biggest challenge was flipping the pancakes. As you can see I didn’t do so well on my first try. Below is a picture of me struggling.


I think I did really well on the smoothies. Everybody enjoyed those. For some it was a little too much. Overall it was a delicious breakfast. Everyone agreed on that.

I could improve on how quickly it went though. It was 10:00 when I finally finished. Everybody called it a brunch because it was so late. Of course it wasn’t the most nutritional but it was most delicious breakfast I have had in a long time. Another thing I could improve on is organization. Once I wasn’t organized because I didn’t put the butter in the right place and it spilled.

Recipes


Banana Pancakes
(From the Williams-Sonoma Kids Cookbook)

6 Tablespoons (¾ stick) butter
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 small, very ripe banana, peeled
1 cup milk
2 eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

maple syrup and sliced bananas, for serving (mom also used pecans)

Cut the butter into 3 equal pieces. Put 2 of the butter pieces in the small saucepan and set the remaining piece aside. Set the pan over medium heat and stir with the wooden spoon until melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Using the pot holder, remove the pan from the heat and set it aside to cool.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix with the fork until well blended.

Put the banana in a small mixing bowl. Mash with the fork until almost smooth. Add the milk, eggs, and vanilla and stir with the fork until well blended. Pour the banana mixture and the melted butter into the flour mixture. Mix gently with the rubber spatula until the batter is just blended. The batter should still be a little lumpy.

Put the griddle over medium heat until hot. To test if the griddle is hot enough, flick a drop of water onto it. It is ready if the drop dances quickly and evaporates. Put half of the remaining butter onto the griddle and spread it with the metal spatula. Drop the batter by ¼ cupfuls onto the griddle, spacing them about 3 inches about.

Cook until a few holes form on top of each pancake and the underside is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Carefully slide the metal spatula under each pancake and turn it over. Cook until the bottom is golden brown and the top is puffed, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Using the spatula, transfer the pancakes to a serving plate.

Repeat with remaining butter. Serve the pancakes while still hot with maple syrup and sliced bananas.

Makes 12 4-inch pancakes


Strawberry or Blueberry Smoothies

1 container (6 oz) vanilla yogurt
2 teaspoons sugar
6 strawberries, stems cut off, or 1 cup blueberries
ice cubes (optional)

Put the yogurt and sugar in the container of the electric blender. Add the choice of fruit (and ice, if desired).

Put the lid securely on the blender. Make sure it's on tight! Hold down the lid with your hand (so it isn't forced off by the spinning liquid) and turn the blender on to high speed. Blend until thick and smooth.

Baked Bacon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line jelly roll pans with foil. Place the bacon on the pan without the pieces overlapping. Bake until brown and crispy, about 15 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate. When the bacon grease on the foil-lined pan is cool, just crumple it all up and throw it away.

Mom's note: The directions of this assignment were to make breakfast without help. I didn't actually pitch in but I did do a fair amount of coaching.

The first two recipes were from The Kids Cookbook from Williams-Sonoma. Watching my son (who knows his way around the kitchen) trying to follow the recipe made me realize how much the cookbook is not written for kids to follow. This is a complaint I have about every kids cookbook we own -- and we own plenty. My kids want to be able to make things by themselves, and none of the cookbooks are written or designed in such a way that kids can do so.

As an example, this book put the directions for techniques at the beginning at the book. This is not effective at all, because kids don't read a cookbook from front to back! If they were going to do this, they could have at least referenced what page the technique instructions are on. I never have felt a burning need to write a cookbook, because there are so many wonderful ones out there, but I'd love to write a cookbook that kids could actually use on their own.

By the way, these were the best banana pancakes made in my house! Delicious!

8 comments:

Patsyk said...

What a great assignment! What he's learning in that class he will take with him forever.

I agree on the kids cookbooks, which is why I haven't bought one yet... I haven't found one that I thought my boys could follow along easily with yet. If you write one, I'll be one of the first in line to buy it! :)

Catherine Wilkinson said...

What a great achievement! Congratulations to the junior chef!
Those banana pancakes look awesome! And isn't that just the best way to cook bacon?? No mess!
My boys were too busy blowing up my toaster and frying earthworms in my good skillet to be interesting in cooking real food...your Mom should be very proud and you will enjoy many years of cooking and baking with her great guidance!

Deborah said...

I loved this!! What a fun assignment - I remember taking home ec, but I don't remember a lot from it.

Julie said...

I love seeing kids in the kitchen, my grandmother started me when I was about 4.

RecipeGirl said...

Great assignment. My son will love to do this sometime :)

I have that kid's cookbook and my son has made a couple of things in it. I'm pretty sure I stood by and explained as needed.

Emiline said...

Nice griddle.

I think this is a tasty looking breakfast. Particularly the bacon.
Good job 13 year old. You've proven yourself.

I like the centerpiece. We all need stuffed animals on our table.

Lori said...

Very nice! Its always good to see kids become involved.

I voted for your Jalapeno poppers by the way. I plan on trying them for our next party. When I lived in Phoenix, I use to go to Jack in the Box for their Jalapeno Poppers. A former weakness of mine.

Tracy said...

My son appreciates all of your kind comments! Thanks!

Emiline, that skillet is about 15 years old, and was a gift from Karyn & her sis. I love it.

Lori, thanks for the vote! I didn't know Jack in the Box sold Poppers. That name is a blast from my past.

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