Monday, 12 July 2010

Priceless Dishes

It is not an everyday affair that my children helps me with my chores. On rare occasions when they eagerly offered to help mop the floor for me, I ended up spending another extra half an hour to complete the job. As much as I appreciate their kind assistance, sometimes I am better off that they leave me alone while I whizzed around the house.

It was a usual weekday evening. I was preparing dinner when my elder child dropped by the kitchen. He was trying to kill time while waiting for his turn to 'polish' the ebony and ivory keys (yes, I am one 'lucky' mother to have free 'piped-in' music every evening).

He offered to help me with the cooking.

In my mind, I was telling him 'You should be spending time to solve that mysteriously unsolvable maths question, the stove is not going to give you any inspiration', but what came out from my mouth was "Ok, go get the eggs from the fridge. We will have stir-fry eggs with tomatoes tonight."

Even though I wish that he spent the time on his studies, I know that I am doing myself good. In time to come, I would probably have to chain him to the dinning chair just to have him sit down to have dinner with me. I shouldn't miss golden opportunities like this, especially since it is out of his own will.

The next scene you would see a mother trying her best to slice the ingredients into 'equal' sizes, and a boy cracking eggs using only one hand. A few knocks on the edge of the bowl, with a squeeze and a squash action, the egg flowed through the cracks effortlessly. I inspected the bowl, no tiny bits of egg shells, great! Do you believe that I am not able to break an egg with one hand? I have cracked so many eggs for the past years, and yet, I can only do it with both hands, and I still get egg shells in the bowl, sometimes. I have showed him how to break an egg with both hands, but he does it his way...which I think he finds it cool! This is just like the Chinese saying "初生之犊不怕虎", aka the fearless youth...there is no worries or fear of making a mess, and no silly self-imposed rule that the yolk has to stay in shape and not be broken, even though it was meant to be scrambled anyway!

Few minutes later, he dished out (actually it was pour, slide, push) his master piece from the frying pan. I was very impressed with him since I was almost hands-free throughout the cooking process. It was a simple stir fry dish, with just some oil, tomatoes and eggs, zero salt or pepper. The Chinese cilantro is a treat for his younger brother...who loves to stuff his mouth with parsley and cilantro...what we referred to as 'smelly vegetable'.

He also helped me with this stir-fry bean sprouts of my favourite dishes. My elder boy was so proud with his master pieces, that he had to make sure his brother (who was so engrossed polishing the black and white keys all this while) acknowledged his effort.

Both dishes cost less than a dollar, in total. But to me, they are priceless.

To cap it off, I was pleasantly surprised to see both boys folding the clean laundry when I was done cleaning up after our dinner. Even though their eyes were fixed on the tv set while working their way through the mountain of clothes, they did help save a few minutes of my time. It was a pleasant evening indeed.


Nash Nordin said...

You had great kids! Usually boys wouldn't want to help in the kitchen. But your kids did. You must be proud of them. Those dishes looked pretty nice too..

Suhaina said...

oh wow, ur son is talented just like you..

Bakericious said...

Hi HHB, I have a lot to say but decided to cut it short, you are so lucky to have wonderful sons, hope my daughter will be as sensible as your sons :)

The experimental cook said...

ha! The tomato omelet reminds me of my outstation days in Taiwan. The dish is Taiwanese factory canteen fare and eating it reminded me how far I was from family in Singapore. Now, this dish is so nostalgic because it reminds me of all my "independent days" in Taiwan. Thanks for bringing back good memories ;-)

Elin said... are so blessed to have them to help you do the house chores. And not to mention helped you in the cooking too :) Your sons will be like you next time...good in cooking and baking. And I am surprised that your young son likes cilantro and parsley...most children don't like the taste and smell of the veggies :))

busygran said...

You are one lucky mum. Your boys are very lucky to have you as their mum. These dishes are priceless because they capture memorable moments.

Angie's Recipes said...

They look so light, healthy and delicious!
And your kids are really sweet!

megi said...


How wonderful that they are willing to help in the kitchen. :) As a child, I loved spending time in the kitchen with my mom, so did my brother. We now both love to cook and it was a precious time spent with my mom. I hope my daughter will be interested in being in the kitchen too, though it's too early, she is just 7.5 months old!

Pei-Lin said...




Hearty Bakes said...

Very sweet of your boys to help you in the kitchen. Simple but full of love.

Anonymous said...

the dish you made reminds me of a kind of soup i love to make! thanks!

PlumLeaf 李葉 said...

my word! I salute you for bringing up such wonderfully behaved boys! Although I help my mum in her kitchen when I go see her and have done since younger; I rarely cook for her in her kitchen. (She's a far superior cook anyhow!)
I only hope that I have the skill and patience as you to bring my children as well as you have.
What a delight to you they must be! Well done!

Small Small Baker said...

Your son really have the talent to cook and bake like you. I made scrambled eggs with prawns yesterday and I can't even cook the scrambled eggs as well as him. Paiseh! Haha!

Baking Fiend said...

Gosh u are so lucky HHB! I can leave a pile of clean clothes for folding on the couch and it'll be the same pile (not a t-shirt less) 3 days after!

I also love the simple stir-frying of bean sprouts. Delicious!

Angel @ Cook.Bake.Love said...

Ur boy is so sweet and sensible. You are a lucky mom but I am sure that it's not all about luck, you must have instilled ur boys with right value. :)

Blessed Homemaker said...

Cool! I can't wait for the day for my kids to offer help in the kitchen. But I guess I have many more years to go.

I've trained them to fold their own clothes too, just so to make them feel useful.

Anonymous said...

Hi Happy Homebaker,

The dishes looks so yummy! How did you blur the background of the photo? or is the photo already like this when you took it with your camera?

Happy Homebaker said...

Jess, they are just like any other kids, if you were to give him the choice, he will rather play with PSP than to help me with anything!

The experimental cook, I'm glad that this simple dish has brought you those fond memories :)

Elin, my kids got weird taste buds, the elder one loves bitter gourds! and Both of them don't like pork or beef. They prefer chicken and fish. The elder one now rejects beef whenever he has the 'say', his reasons? He wants to play a part to protect the environment. Sometimes I wish he doesn't know so many things.

Hi magi, I am sure you will be spending lots of time with your daughter in the kitchen very soon, kids grow up at a tremendous speed!

Pei Lin, I understand, so I rather cook food that my kids would enjoy! and most of the time there are only 3 of us, if they don't eat, I will suffer!
My elder child is still in primary school, next year he will go to secondary school.
I consider it my responsibility to let both my boys go thru BDT (aka Basic Domestic Training) to prepare them when the time comes for them to be on their own.

PlumLeaf, I can't even count the number of times they have driven me up the walls! really, they behave just like any other kids. just that maybe I am at home, they get to play around in the kitchen ;)

SSB, he has several prior practices, he can cook scramble eggs or sunny side ups or fry a prata for breakfast. Practice makes perfect!

Baking Fiend, one secret to share with you…my kids are especially helpful after they received a major scolding…they will be very well-behaved, and will offer to help automatically. During these times, I really take advantage for them ;p

Blessed Homemaker, yes, kids have to train from young…we cannot be doing every single thing for them.

Reira, my answer is both…my very old camera doesn't work well when there is no natural sun light. This was taken at night, under my lamp. The images were not sharp, no matter how hard I tried. The background was a bit blur. In fact those were 'noise' (in digital photography terms) rather then blur! I also used photo editor (Picasa or Photoscape, free downloads), to blur the back ground further to give a better contrast/sharper image to the subject. My photos are really not up to standard :(

Baking Fiend said...

Thanks for the tips, HHB. *wink*

Anonymous said...

Awww, you're indeed blessed to have such helpful sons :) And your elder son is showing similar HHB-esque talent in the kitchen I see :P Oh, and if it makes you feel better, I can't crack an egg single-handed as well! All the guys in my family does it effortlessly though. Harumph!

Jo said...

I think it is good that your boys help out with chores. I think it helps to build up their character when they grow up and not think that just because they are boys/men, they don't need to help out with house chores.

Happy Homebaker said...

hi ovenhaven, oh really?! I think we are being too careful when we break eggs ;)

Hi Jo, gone are the days when men don't need to help with the household chores. With both couples working, all the more the men should help out. My kids never know that men don't do chores in the past, since they grow up seeing their daddy helping out with the dishes, laundry, cleaning the toilets, etc. They like to tease him because he can't even fry an egg ;')

kitchen tables said...

Indeed! Those are priceless dishes. Those dishes are very delicious and healthy as well. I can't wait to serve it on our table this coming weekend.

Anonymous said...

Great Kids you have. It's really fantastic that you didn't purposely nuture them that way, they just learn by example, and it's really great.

Honey Bee Sweets said...

You are so lucky or should I say you have taught your boys well. My girls will not even come close to the stove ( will complain hot) or even know how to fold cloths . Indeed somethings are pricessless and you have successfully groomed two. :)

Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

You are a lucky mom !

WendyinKK said...

I am hoping to train my daughter to be well equiped with kitchen skills too..

Brenda The Healthy Lunch Recipes Girl said...

I love making the Egg dish but instead of tomato chunks I liquefy the tomatoes and add it to the eggs. Kind of like a soup. Then top it off with cheese and sour cream. Delicious!

emma's mummy said...

Yesterday I made Holicks Doggies Cookies, the smiles and satisfaction on my girls! My five year old eldest girl loves to play with kitchen toys, and loves anything with food.

Because of her, I read/learn about baking, and read many recipes/posts of you. My eldest girl doesn't want to miss any opportunity to help crack an egg.

After reading this post, I feel bad about myself that I am often impatient to let her try crack eggss, and scold her for any single/tiny shells in the bowl.

Thanks for sharing stories with your boys! It really helps me to bond with my girls.