In the world of homeschooling it seems that cooking is always seen as a place to teach math. You know fractions and ratios, temperature, time. These are all there, but I would say that the real learning that goes on while baking is deeper. Cooking is so intertwined with being human what we learn through it and sharing what we make touches on storytelling, art, and caring. Like storytelling it is passed down through generations. Even now in our media filled world we all still have a place for our own family mythologies. Like these stories certain meals are stories of their own, I’ve mentioned before how my family’s holiday is Thanksgiving, and the foods cooked are as important as the company.
I remember being around Alder’s age the first time I baked a pie with my aunt. She gave me a little dough, a little filling and a small tray to make it on. I didn’t even like pie back then.
And now this year while we were reviewing the menu we felt the need to add another pie, not just any pie but a blueberry one. Alder announced that he wanted to make it. And so he did, my main role was to help him with ratios and the rolling (we had to use a can of tomatoes no rolling-pin around). But really it was all him and he was so proud when we brought it to the table…. (the amusing ending is after the photos)
As he worked on the pie I told him stories of cooking with my Mom and Aunt. They flowed from me so naturally as we stood in the same room that so many of those meals were made. We talked about what it was like in the house when I was little, about what it was like to go blueberry picking, we ambled through parts of my childhood as he baked and I assisted. Then when the pie was in the oven we sat by the fire just happy to be there.
As I said Alder was very excited to see his pie on the table with the other desserts. Then my Uncle asked to taste it and Alder gave him one berry. I guess the connection he made with his pie was close, he didn’t really want to give any of it up, swearing that he would eat the entire thing just then. While this very quiet conversation was going on his cousin, who had no idea, cut himself a slice. Alder silently watched him with two big tears rolling down his cheeks. This was the second lesson the pie brought, we talked about sharing and how Thanksgiving was a day to come together and make food for each other. We talked about all the different dishes people made. Slowly Alder began to understand until he even offered slices to people, with the understanding that when we got back to Denver he could bake a pie just for himself.