Thursday, March 28, 2013

Baking, the train and soup.

I have a guest post up at BreakThru Radio -- this week is Optimism week, though I haven't yet had a chance to listen to the programmes.

1. We bake a cake together -- just a bread machine ginger cake, but there's enough weighing and measuring and stirring. We have tried baking before, but Alec has always lost interest within minutes. Today he  surprises me. He picks an egg from the box and knows exactly what to do, but he isn't quite strong enough. I put his hands on mine while I do it and he seems pleased with that. He spoons out ginger and bicarb, too, and asks to beat the eggs and stir the dry ingredients. I know they bake at nursery, but these new skills are astonishing to me.

2. As soon as I let him out of the pushchair Alec starts re-arranging the chairs in the children's library. He's making a train. A little girl about the same age joins him -- her impressive contribution is a recital of the stations between Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks. Her grandmother produces a couple of train tickets to help the illusion.

3. When I visited China in 2001 one of my favourite meals was a bowl of thin soup full of lightly cooked vegetables. I worked my way through a menu that offered varieties of mushroom and different leaves and stalks, all kinds of things that I'd never heard of. I make my own version whenever I have home-made stock (the bought kind is too salty); and I usually chuck in whatever vegetables we have, cut quite small, and maybe some ginger or some chilli. It makes a fantastic rainbow dish and I always feel very nourished afterwards -- it's the combination of hot soup and barely cooked vegetables, I think.