This summer my parents introduced us to Chopped, a competitive cooking television show on the Food Network, and it has become an obsession in our family.
On family movie nights, we pop a giant bowl of popcorn and huddle under the blanket for a Chopped marathon in lieu of anything Disney.
And I hate to reveal this secret, but thanks to Chopped I actually enjoy folding laundry. The heaping, wrinkled baskets of clothes used to intimidate me, but now I just let out a big sigh and proclaim, “Family, I must go fold laundry.” I hang my head and march up the stairs, shut the bedroom door, and giddily cue up an episode of Chopped. It turns out I can fold about 8 loads in the time it takes to watch a single episode. Talk about win-win.
Those Chopped mystery baskets are far more intimidating than my laundry baskets, so it’s all about perspective. And alone time.
Best of all, Chopped has inspired our nine-year-old son to become a chef.
It started with a spicy taco seasoning. Sam found a recipe online and actually ran to a neighbor’s house to borrow chili powder so he could make it immediately. A few weeks later he dreamed up his own rib rub, and Clark donated a rack of ribs to the cause. We had to admit, it was pretty tasty!
Before we knew it Sam was whipping up double batches of his grandma’s banana bread, with very little assistance from us:
One night last week I was making chicken noodle soup, and Sam asked if he could make the egg noodles himself. It’s not like I enjoy dousing my hands in eggs and flour, so of course I said yes. He promptly whipped off his shirt (apparently his sleeves were getting in the way) and got to work on the dough:
This noodle cutter belonged to my great-grandmother, and we are so honored that it was passed it on to us. I hope she would be proud to see her great-great grandson learning to use it:
Unfortunately, the dough kept getting stuck, so Sam switched to a pizza cutter instead. Please forgive us, Grandma!
You are looking at a boy who loves the noodle in chicken noodle soup best of all, and I’m sure he’ll be cooking this simple pasta for years to come.
Probably not on Chopped, but hey… you never know!