Cooking school? Isn’t this a photography blog?
Yes, this is a photography blog.
It’s supposed to be at least.
A place where I post pictures of happy clients posing for me with gorgeous backdrops. A place to come to find out more about my photography sessions, my prices, and contact me for a session.
But you guys are not ok with that. You, my friends, are bored with the gorgeous photographs. And who cares how I got this baby to fall asleep on a raft, on the beach, next to the waves, that could have come crashing in and washed her out to sea. You are bored with these photography posts, you want more story telling. Your comments are overwhelming me. I see them everywhere…my website, my Facebook posts, and when you see me in person you comment again out loud.
I hear you!
I had a jewelry party at my house this weekend. Everyone there was prompted by the trunk show lady to say their name and 2 things they like about me, since I was the hostess of the party. Not sure if jewelry lady was trying to get dirt on me? Or thought maybe I’d found these people on the street and was testing them to see if they really knew me? Or if I looked sad and pathetic (because I was wearing no jewelry seeing as how I was waiting to buy some!) and so looked like I needed some cheery words to pick me up? Whatever her logic, I’m pretty sure 90% of the people there said I am funny. I say “pretty sure” because I was 1.75 glasses of wine in, and if the first 3 people say you’re funny, you feel obligated to start being funny, and, the 2nd word they picked to describe me always almost brought me to tears, so I stopped tracking who said what and started digging my nails into my wrist to stop myself from crying while still trying to make the woman next to me laugh. It was an impossible situation jewelry lady put me in, and I wouldn’t want to sit through that again, as it was too stressful to control that many emotions at once. But 2 things I learned that evening….1. Ask Angela first, before she’s had too much wine, because when she’s the 2nd to last person to go, she will forget what she wants to say, and she will stumble around and mumble incomprehensible words until it really does seem like she was pulled off the street and has no idea who I am. And 2. my friends count on me to be funny. It’s who they think I am. It’s how I portray myself. It’s why they read this blog.
I get it.
I hear you.
But please, let’s ease into it.
This was a Saturday morning.
Kids cooking school at William Sonoma.
I really want the girls to learn how to cook. I really do.
But not in my kitchen, it would seem.
And that’s not why we’re at the cooking school here, to save my house, but they just wanted to do cooking lessons, so we came. And they conquered.
That is Pom juice she’s pouring. Imagine her pouring that in my house. Sticky, stainy, huge quantities of pomegranate juice moving around my kitchen held by little slippery hands? No thanks.
But again, I digress. I hate the idea of Pom juice anywhere near my house, but that doesn’t mean I won’t let them cook.
Here they are making homemade hummus.
Again, I love it. I love eating it, I love that they are making it, and I love that it’s not in my house.
But who here is foolish enough to think that we took them to William Sonoma, cooked a few snacks, and left, never to cook again?
Of course no one thinks that, because then there is no story here to tell. And no one would laugh. And I would not be funny. And my jewelry friends would shun me.
So let’s go cook at home, shall we?
Oh, but not without shopping first. We’re inside a store for God’s sake! Shop!
Mini pink spatulas, pink measuring cups, William Sonoma baking for kids cookbook, American Girl cookbook, American Girl spatula, plus 4 wooden spoons and a 5 quart pot that Tom found while waiting for his portion of the hummus….not free. And actually, cost enough to earn us a $20 rewards gift card on our Pottery Barn/William Sonoma credit card. Thank you very much. Should have gone to Starbucks for a smoothie and hummus and saved ourselves $180!!
Fast forward a few weeks.
…Yeah ok, that’s fine to fast forward, but let me tell you that every single day between cooking school and “D” day I was asked (begged) to let them cook. They scrutinized those new cookbooks like a hooker with a new mattress. (sorry, I feel the influence of Tom and his language choices creeping into my story).
Anyway, the point is, I broke down and let them cook something.
This is not the first time they’ve cooked. Oh no.
Baking cookies every single December? check.
Rolling out oatmeal energy balls in their sweaty little hands? check.
Helping with the occasional chopping of veggies, or grating of cheese or measuring of spices? check. (But only “helping”, mind you, or else we once would have a made a batch of brownies with 1/2 CUP of baking powder if I hadn’t been overseeing procedures. What would that do anyway? Puff it up so it’s like a big brownie air ball? Whatever, luckily baking powder isn’t easy to pour, so I was alerted to the measuring transgression by the banging of the baking powder container and it’s too small opening onto the big glass measuring cup and the exasperated noises of an 8 year old.
But this time was different. This time they wanted to “do it themselves”. I feel like I’m working with a 3 year old again who wants to do EVERYTHING herself. But that is exactly how it was. They wanted to pick the bowls, find the ingredients, measure, mix and cook.
Someone must have snuck a Xanax into my mouth this particular day, because I calmly agreed to the idea.
So off we go. Harper is going to make guacamole and homemade chips. And Payton is going to make Red velvet cupcakes.
Sounds yummy and fattening and difficult and now the Xanax wore off and I’m regretting regretting regretting.
Not too bad with the guac. Mashin some avocados, squeezing some limes, all good.
Homemade chips? Turned out to taste fantastic, would like nothing else but these homemade chips from now on, thank you very much, you just earned yourself another job on your chore chart! And done. Moving on to the cupcakes.
Payton, now Payton could use a little help. She really could. Will she accept it? No. 100% no. Why? Because Harper didn’t need any help.
Have I ever told you that when Payton comes home from say, a birthday party, she walks into the house and says “Where’s Harper?” When she wakes up at 6:30 in the morning and comes downstairs she says “Where’s Harper?” When I pick her up from school if she’s the first one out of the school she waits a few minutes, looks around, then asks “Where’s Harper?”
So it’s corroborated, she loves that girl. And if you love someone that much you must do 2 things:
- Copy everything they do, the same way, hopefully at the same time, and with the same level of enjoyment, and
- Deny that you copy them, deny that you love them, deny that you admire everything they do, and physically try to injure the one you love if she starts to recognize the love you have for her (or if your mom points it out one day)
It’s the way of the world. And Payton is a master student.
So it’s red velvet cupcakes, without help from mom.
Xanax, back on board.
I suddenly feel like this is one of those fun stories in the making. Let her try! Let’s all laugh when later we bite into a cupcake and come away with eggshell in our mouth! Or when the batter doesn’t rise because the other day Harper used up 2 cups of baking soda in her own cake so there was none left for Payton’s cupcakes and they look like flat little pancakes! It will be funny! A story to tell their own kids! Something we sit around the kitchen and laugh about!
Seriously Kim? This is PP. Perfectionist Payton. Do I really believe she will LAUGH when her cupcakes suck? No. No I don’t.
Bake to baking.
Now don’t get me wrong, I do help, a tiny bit, because I must. She doesn’t understand some of the directions, she’s not able to find the measuring tool she needs, she’s not allowed to use the stove, etc, etc.
The stove. That’s how we got to the situation we found ourselves in.
So the directions tell her to boil water and add it to the cocoa and let it dissolve, and then add buttermilk or whatever the ingredients are. I’m trying to block it from my memory quite honestly.
So the boiling water quickly melts the cocoa. Wonderful.
Next directions: add the cocoa mixture and the buttermilk or whatever the hell you need to add and blend it all up in the blender!
Oh yes! The directions are all cheery and happy and sing-songy just like I wrote it! Sure she will! Why wouldn’t Payton throw all that crap in a blender and blend it all up?
You’re telling her to! Your picture of red velvet cupcakes looks amazing! She believes what she reads! Yes, yes, yes!! Mommy where’s the blender?
(ok ok, I know some of you see where this is headed. If you don’t yet, I won’t fault you. Because in reality, I learned this lesson NOT in physics class in high school or college, but in my own kitchen when Tom and I first got engaged. So if you haven’t learned this lesson yet, you’re welcome. Because after reading this you will NEVER make the same mistake that I did, and then Payton repeated 15 years later. And if you’re thinking to yourself….well….if you already LEARNED this lesson, why did Payton have to repeat it??? And to that I say: shut the hell up.)
Oh yeah, one of the essential ingredients of red velvet cupcakes is the RED part. That’s red dye. So I shouldn’t be blase about exactly what went into the blender. Red dye was in that blender. And boiling hot water. And cocoa. And here we go….
Payton flips the switch, blender is cranked, all those dark ingredients flying around together. Then suddenly the lid is airborne and flying across the kitchen, sent into space from the built up steam in the blender due to the boiling water. Any sane person (read: adult) would immediately hit the power switch and stop the carnage. But the adult is across the room, languid from too much Xanax, and can’t seem to get to the blender. The smaller chef is also paralyzed, standing on a kitchen chair, taking it all in, making no move to stop the batter hurricane.
So 30 seconds later, the entire kitchen looks like a slaughterhouse. Blackish-red batter covers everything.
I won’t bore you with the details of clean up. Granted, we did get to cook a few cupcakes with the remaining batter we scraped out of the blender, but to me they had lost all flavor.
And they will forever be the only red velvet cupcakes I ever cook. Hopefully William Sonoma would like to take that on some weekend….I’ll sign Payton up.