On a recent Friday afternoon I had a little special time with my younger daughter, who had just turned 4 years old. Her older sister was still in school and the younger one and I were about to have lunch. She is more adventurous than her older sister as an eater, and has lately been showing an interest in the process of cooking. She likes to stand on a step stool and watch as I cook, and enjoys doing little jobs like mixing the wet and then the dry ingredients when we make pancakes, or putting butter in a hot pan and swirling it around with a spatula.
On this day I thought why not let her choose what we eat for lunch, and maybe she can play a larger role in cooking. I set out some choices for her - we had eggs, leftover polenta, fresh marjoram and rosemary, dry sausage, broccoli, carrots, and a few other things that I cannot recall. She chose polenta and we agreed that we would fry it to make the sides crispy. She decided that we would put an egg on top (perhaps she is familiar with the "egg-on-top" that currently pervades every menu in Brooklyn).
She put butter in a hot pan, cracked an egg into a bowl, and helped me pour it into the pan. She smiled at the sizzling noise, because this time she made that noise happen, not me. She decided on sunny-side up for the eggs. I would have gone with whatever she decided, but this was a good choice. Scrambled eggs on polenta doesn't sound so appealing. She helped me take the eggs out of the pan and place them on a plate. She used a butter knife to cut polenta patties from the log I shaped out of the leftovers, and then helped me to carefully put two patties in the pan. She helped me turn the patties to brown the other side. We put the browned patties on plates and she helped to put the eggs on top. She decided to put two marjoram leaves on top of the eggs, some salt and pepper, and then she decided that we would have thin slices of Parmigiano cheese on top, not shaved cheese.
She was very proud of her work, and she cleaned her plate, which is not unusual, but I detected an added relish as she ate. I was proud of her, as you can tell, and by the way, our lunch was delicious. This is going to be fun, cooking with my daughters.