A job for toddlers: tomato separator

THERE’S A NEW COOK IN THE KITCHEN. Phoebe’s latest fascination is one close to my heart, and the fire. Every time I set foot in the kitchen she insists on assuming her new position as sous chef, perched atop of a bar stool at the counter. Yes it’s uneasy to let her teeter so high above the hard floor so far below but we’re careful and so far haven’t lived to regret it. Here she gets her own bowl, a couple of utensils and sometimes some ingredients, a little sea salt, a few flakes of oatmeal…

But her first official job seems to have been the most satisfying: taking the tomatoes off the vine and putting them in a bowl to make roasted tomato basil soup. I’ve never seen anyone concentrate so hard on this particular task–or so proud of the results. It was adorable and actually helpful!

Occupational hazard: sometimes the assistant eats the ingredients.

The fun is this: she gets to feel involved, important and sometimes well-fed along the way. She’s so into it that Santa’s bringing a mini-kitchen for Christmas but don’t tell her.

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