Pudding It Together (apologies to Sondheim)

Happy New Year! My first resolution of 2012 is to blog more often. Back when I wrote a monthly parenting column for Sesame Workshop, I had a great excuse to capture all the amusing and precious details of my children’s lives, and my often humorous struggles as a parent. While an archive of these columns lives on elsewhere on this website, it’s time for some fresh material. I decided to share a fun story about making rice pudding with my daughter Olivia, now 7.

Yesterday, on the last day of vacation before she and Finian return to school, Olivia said she wanted to “do an experiment.” My wife and I know that this is code for “turning the kitchen into a tornado of ingredients.” Getting Olivia to try an actual recipe is sometimes tricky. She’d much rather mix random stuff from our cabinets and see what happens. I love the freeform cooking approach, but I want her to see that she’s capable of making some of her favorite dishes.

A few months ago, at a local diner, Olivia discovered that she LOVED rice pudding. So that seemed  worth a shot. I consulted a few recipes online, rejected one by Alton Brown (looked delicious, but required some esoteric ingredients, such as caradamom), and settled on one by the inimitable Ina Garten a.k.a. the Barefoot Contessa a.k.a. the one who makes her husband Jeffrey melt at the mere mention of roast chicken. But I digress.. Here’s the recipe we used (minus the rum, which didn’t seem appropriate for Olivia)

She got a big kick measuring the rice, running her hands through the grains (“You washed them, right honey?”), and pour the whole quart of half-and-half into the measuring cup. I even threw in a little science prediction: “Do you think the measuring cup with overflow?” When it was gone, Olivia proudly sprinkled cinnamon on each dish and served it to our family. It was DELICIOUS! (And I just realized there are leftovers in the fridge, and I’m the only one home… Hmm.. the possibilities are endless.

I’d love to hear any great  stories you’d like to share about cooking with kids.

Have a wonderful 2012. I’ll write again soon. Promise!

paper airplane and crumbs