So it's Week 1 and admittedly, our teenagers got virtually no notice that they were on dinner duty. The rest of us had arrived home late and there were still packed lunches for the next day to make and general 'end of the weekend' chaos to sort out. But sometimes it's good not to have too long to think about it. For everyone involved.
And if you need a reminder about the plan behind having our two teenagers tackle dinner once a week, you can find it here.
So let's break the teenagers in gently ...
On the menu for Week 1 was -
- Breaded plaice (from the Waitrose freezer aisle) - yes, we do have Waitrose in Dubai.
- Easy Oven Chips - a favourite side dish for both teenagers. But how would they feel about cooking it themselves?
- Peas - frozen ... only reheating in the microwave required.
So what did the teenagers learn?
- All things being equal - They learned that cutting the potatoes into equal sizes is a good start - and that applies to whatever food you're cooking.
- Read the instructions on the packet - Someone has spent ages checking that the instructions on the packet work, so let them do the work and make the most of their efforts.
- Don't forget the basics - Remembering to get the oven preheating straight away is crucial - particularly when everyone is STARVING.
- Use the technology in your pocket - When you've got multiple things cooking at once, for different durations, using the timer on your phone is a great help. Even better when the two of you each have a phone to use.
- Check that everything is warm enough - If you are reheating in the microwave, be sure that the food is hot right the way through. Even for frozen peas.
And what did I learn?
- Photos would be good - I got so caught up in the moment that I forgot to take any photos. Must do better next week.
- Small steps - It's not all about learning to cook from scratch ... learning to read the instructions on the packet, using the equipment in the kitchen and sorting out the timings so that everything is ready at the same time are all essential life skills.
- Turning the tables - Asking what time dinner will be ready is a wholly reasonable question. The tables were indeed turned when I was quoted back to myself on asking how long dinner would be - 'It'll be ready when it's ready.' It really is a very reasonable question when you're squeezing dinner into a busy evening so I'll try to answer it in a more helpful manner next time. Sorry.
- Step away from the kitchen - It felt good to hand the kitchen over to #1 and #2 teenage sons. Looking forward to more of the same.
So did we all eat well?
They made light work of dinner and the Easy Oven Chips (+ all the extras) were delicious and timely. There was a minor incident with the peas - hot peas are so 'last year' anyway + having them al-dente keeps the colour bright and probably doesn't annihilate the vitamins either. Concentrate on the positives ... And there were empty plates all round so all good. But most importantly, the intrepid chefs were enthusiastic about making this a regular weekly adventure. Result.
So a resounding success for Week 1 and we'll celebrate by ... doing it again next week - with photos. I promise. Stay tuned to see what the teenagers will tackle ...
And if you (and your teenagers) fancy joining us on this culinary journey do let us know by commenting and of course be sure to snap a photo of your dinner and hashtag it #marmaladeandme. I'd love to see how it goes for you.