A roast loin of pork, an autumnal fruit and vegetable mélange, and a buttery apple cake ("Heaven on a plate," declared the 7-year-old sous-chef). None of these recipes is difficult, and either of us adults, working alone, probably could have gotten them all to the table in a little under the three hour timeline. But with the step-by-step instructions laid out in lavish detail on Dinner at 8, I thought this would be a great opportunity to involve the kids in making a real meal, from start to finish. The meal preparation also became a substantial challenge for us: to keep the kids engaged throughout the entire preparation, without shooing them out of the kitchen so we could get dinner on the table more efficiently.
|Stirring the melted butter for the cake.|
The kids learned new skills: peeling apples, folding cake batter, crushing spices. They measured, they counted, they whisked and they stirred. They even paid attention to a short lecture on knife skills. They discovered endives, leeks and swiss chard, and we discussed why Greek yogurt made a good substitute for crème fraîche.
And I never once heard, "I'm bored!"
|Whisking the flour and baking powder.|
We send a huge thank you to Dorie Greenspan for sharing these recipes with us. I am certain that all three will reappear on our table for many years to come. And many thanks to Pim Techamuanvivit, whose Dinner at 8 plan inspired us to bring our children into the kitchen to share an afternoon of food and family.