For as long as I can remember, Toddler in Chief has been an active participant in the workings of our kitchen. When he was too wee to put forks and napkins on the table, he was right there observing. Perched in his bouncy chair on top of the counter, he'd get to touch the smooth skin of red and green peppers, smell vanilla for baking or basil for pesto, and watch me as I chopped, measured, and mixed. As he grew, he would sit on the floor behind me with measuring cups and wooden spoons. Eventually he was put in charge of getting cans from the pantry and picking which pasta shape to cook.
Books have also been a big part of our lives. We started reading together not long after he came home from the hospital. Now that he's bigger, we combine our love of food and the joy of books. We often browse through cookbooks, look at the pictures, talk about what we'd like to eat and what ingredients must be added to our shopping list in order to make them.
Now there is a cookbook that is much more fun for him to look at than our regulars, like Vegan with a Vengeance, the Enchanted Broccoli Forest, or Lean, Luscious, and Meatless. The Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook is 42 recipes inspired by the illustrations and words in Dr. Seuss stories. The spiral-bound book is big, colorful and packed with pictures and excepts from the Seuss classics. If you ever wondered what "Blueberry Bumplings" or "Glunker Stew" would taste like, here's your chance. Other recipes are "Schlopp with a Cherry on Top," "Pink Yink Ink Drink," "Zans' Cans Chili," "Schlottz's Knots," "Cindy-Lou Who-Wreaths," and of course "Green Eggs and Ham."
As the executive chef of a vegetarian household, I'm a bit disappointed. Not sure what I was expecting from a cookbook with Ham in the title. Fortunately, some of the breakfast, lunch, and snack recipes can be modified to be suitable for vegetarians by omitting the meat. But the dinner section--which includes shrimp, ham hocks, fillets of fish, chicken, and Italian sausages--is off-limits.
Regardless, TIC loves that he now has his very own cookbook. He has enjoyed turning the pages and telling me what each recipe is about and how we're going to make it. Every recipe includes elements for kids--from mixing, to pouring and assembling. And some recipes require no cooking or chopping so that kids can create these snacks and drinks with little guidance. So far, TIC has mastered "Brown Bar-ba-loots' Truffula Fruits," which is an easy to make snack of fruit and yogurt and "Silly Sammy Slick's Sodas," which is a foamy combination of juice and sparkling water.
And if you're wondering what makes the eggs green in the recipe for "Green Eggs and Ham"--it's avocados! Yum. Perhaps we'll just make the eggs. Or maybe we'll modify it to be "Green Eggs and Tofu."