Sarah Simpson column: Christmas baking with kids is not tidy

When I was younger — and I don’t want to give anything away but it was in the pre-Internet era — I used to have my own TV show. Not to brag or anything, but it was watched by 100 per cent of the people who knew it existed, namely my cat.

It was called Sarah’s Clean As You Go Cooking Show and as you could guess, it was centered around not making a disastrous mess while you cooked. It aired live at a random schedule (whenever I was hungry, and nights it was my time to get dinner ready) from my kitchen and in front of a live studio cat audience.

There was not a camera to be seen but the house I grew up in was built in the ’70s so it had one of those super handy storage cabinets above the peninsula separating the kitchen from the dining area, and the family room beyond. Open concept plans weren’t popular at the time I suppose.

Anyway, the overhead cabinets somehow made it feel like I was on TV and I was a bit of a comedian at the time so I revelled in presenting Sarah’s Clean As You Go Cooking Show – even if it was for my own enjoyment.

Like any quality television show, mine has come and gone throughout the years, appearing at odd hours and in different kitchens and in various remakes, brilliant sequels and failed trilogy attempts. The difference is that now I actually could have my phone in front of my face and broadcast live if I felt like it, which doesn’t happen. Though I will occasionally post something ridiculous on social media, my cooking show still tends to happen without any actual real cameras rolling and I kind of like it that way.

I recently made a few batches of Christmas cookies with my children. After several days of cleaning the kitchen, I’m ready to talk about it.

Thinking I was pretty smart and efficient, I pre-measured most of the ingredients so all they really had to do was dump stuff in the bowls and stir. No muss, no fuss. I was so smart. At least I thought I was for a few minutes there. I quickly learned that pre-measuring only saved me the mess of having the boxes and bags of raw ingredients on the counter.

It didn’t save me from the actual mess.

For my son, it came with him trying to covertly dig out chocolate chips that we’d mixed in with the dry ingredients.

Every time he stuck his hand in the bowl a cloud of flour and whatever else would come flying up. The cloud grew even bigger once he’d grabbed his chocolate chip and yanked his hand back out before catching my eye. He forgot mom’s have eyes in the back of their heads and I did see every morsel thieved…but even if I hadn’t, the evidence on the counters and floors and cabinet doors and clothes and their little faces, was overwhelming.

For my daughter it was rolling out the dough and using the cookie cutters. (We used our firefighter-related cookie cutters because what is Christmas without sugar cookies in the shapes of fire hydrants, fire trucks, firefighters, fire helmets and fire dogs, am I right?) Just picture a small child standing on a chair and still not being tall enough to reach very far across the counter. Visualize her kind of half on that chair, half climbing onto the counter. Then imagine the counter being covered in flour.

She looked like a ghost by the end.

I’ll admit I was quite pale by the end, too.

I’ll tell you though, it was most definitely not at all a Sarah’s Clean As You Go Cooking Show episode but it was one of the best times I’ve had baking in a very long time.



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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