Monday, August 27, 2007

Creative Messes

In college I became friends with a young woman, one of three daughters, who grew up in a very traditional Italian home. Years later she came to my home for dinner. She was thinking about getting her own apartment and was looking forward to learning how to cook. I remarked with surprise that I had assumed her mother would have taught her how to cook.

“She didn’t want us to mess up the kitchen,” she explained.

The last time I made brownies with my son, I asked him to crack an egg into a bowl. He accidentally let the entire egg open outside of the bowl.

“Oh no,” I started, then checked myself. I thought of my friend.

“It’s okay,” I continued in a calmer voice, “Just try to get it into the bowl this time.”

Kids make messes. Four kids make lots of messes. Often it seems like all I do is clean up after their continual mess-making. Sometimes it seems like a fruitless use of my energy and abilities. But messes are necessary bi-products of creativity; creativity yields higher-order thinking; higher-order thinking yields productive, moral, intelligent adults.

So let your kids bake and make a mess; then have them all pitch in to clean up. You will have made more than a nice batch of cookies. The smell of the freshly-baked goods, the feel of the powdery flour, the taste of the uncooked batter, the sight of the rising dough, the sound of timers and chattering siblings, all come together firing hundreds of neurons from multiple brain centers to make a memory that will last a lifetime.

“Give her a reward of her labors, and let her works praise her at the city gates.”
Proverbs 31:31
The All Purpose Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer, Ethan Becker, and Marion Rombauer Becker (Hardcover - Nov 1998)

The only cookbook I ever really USE!

1 comment:

Joanna said...

1- I love this thought on creatvity and have never thought of it as such...and...
2- It sounds like I need to invest in this wonderful cookbook. I've been experimenting in the kitchen lots lately.