When I was 10 and hungry, the most I could make for myself was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich — and even then, half of the fillings wound up on the counter. If I felt particularly lazy, it was a bowl of Captain Crunch.
As long as most of the cereal went into the bowl and not onto the floor, I was good to go.
Fast forward 50 years, and we now have kids whipping up souffle, fileting monkfish, and arguing over who has the best béchamel recipe (it’s a rich French white sauce… I looked it up.)
And they’re doing this on television no less. As a plethora of TV shows have popped up featuring these tiny talents.
These kids creep me out and although there’s obviously nothing “wrong” with it, something about it just doesn’t seem right. Shouldn’t mom be calling Little Timmy down to dinner, and not the other way around? What 8-year-old boy prefers a new set of sauté pans for Christmas over a drone?
Traditionally, preparing the family meal was woman’s work. For better or worse, this all changed over the past few decades, as men took on many of the cooking responsibilities because of women’s entrance into the workforce. And because of women’s entrance into the workforce, the ladies no longer wanted to cook. They therefore soon forgot how, so if a man wanted to eat well, he had to make it himself. Cable TV and its new wave of educational culinary programming taught guys how to cook just like the pros. In all fairness though, these shows also drew women back to the kitchen.
But since when did kids get involved? Were these teensy weensy chefs out there all along, but only recently tapped for the entertainment industry? Are there actually 8-year-olds across America who know when an eggplant is ripe and ready for cooking? What normal American kid not only eats his broccoli, but looks forward to steaming it, with his special recipe for white wine and Brie sauce?
One would think that a youngster with such an interest in cooking would have a weight problem (to put it mildly), but no. They’re mostly pretty fit. Maybe peeling potatoes and chopping parsley burns calories, but in the world I grew up in, we burned calories playing outside. Plus, if an official from Child Protective Services ever paid the family a visit and saw mom snoozing on the couch while Bobbie was slaving over a hot stove, the nearest foster home would soon be making some room for Bobbie.
I know I’m probably wrong about all this. It’s a brave new world, and things are different today. I can accept the changing gender roles in society, the blurring of the genders, and the creation of new genders thanks to modern science.
But I refuse to accept buying my young nephew a Cuisinart for Christmas.