On Sunday the girls and I made an apple pie. My wife handed us a bowl full of apples and told us to make something delicious. “Dad, we’re going to have to make a pie, and do it from scratch.” I let the girls do almost every step by themselves, with the exception of peeling the apples (they know how to use the KitchenAid stand mixer, though, which is, as always, the best way to make everything from bread to pastry dough).
One other step I did was to finish rolling out the dough, and then put it into the pie plate. “There’s a secret,” I told them, “if you want your pie crust not to rip as you move and unfold it: you have to run a knife around the edge, and make a circle first.” As I showed them how to perform this trick, and to do it without cutting the counter, my youngest looked up at me and asked in a serious tone, “Dad, who taught you to do this?” My mom did. “Dad, you’re teaching us, but who teaches other people this trick?” I explained that not everyone knows how to cook.
This disturbed them both. “You mean some people never learn how to cook?” They had never considered the possibility, nor experienced a home where cooking was not part of the life of the house. I am not an award winning chef, but I am a good and dedicated home cook. And I take the job of modeling and passing this skill on to my girls seriously; not because they are girls, but because they are alive and I want them to live as I have lived, preparing and eating food around the table together.