Iron Chef Rosa

My five-year old may have a future in molecular gastronomy or some other kind of food designing enterprise. She’s slowly learning operations in the kitchen, but what is funniest is her love of cooking shows. I have never seen anything like it. No Muppets or Sesame Street for that one. No, she is as addicted as we are to competitive cooking shows like Iron Chef, Chopped, and Worst Cooks in America, which we stream off of You Tube.

And this hilarity started when she was three. We indulged on Denver Restaurant Night by going to The Fort, a meat and game restaurant that would not really be within our budget, but for the cut price menu that night. When the dishes came out, the adult platters had a sprig of rosemary garnish stood on end in the mound of mashed potatoes. The child plate did not. This did not please our little Maria Battali. She said nothing, only stared from her plate to ours, noting the difference, and when I put the sprig of herb to the side to eat my potatoes, she took it and carefully slid the garnish into her potatoes exactly as it had been placed in ours. The crowning glory was when she took her hand away from placing the garnish, with a wave of her fingers, just as she had seen Iron Chef Mario Battali do in an episode, a couple of weeks previously. Needless to say, I almost snorted potatoes through my nose.

One of her recent favorite games, no kidding, is Iron Chef, which she mixes up with Chopped. She plays the chef, and we play the judges. She tinkers in her toy kitchen, and brings us toy dishes, and stands and presents her descriptions of her food for our judgement.

The last tidbit of conversation went like this:

“I’ve prepared for you today a dessert…um…It has a chocolate cake…crumb layer on the bottom…um…with bananas and raspberries sprinkled on top, then a layer of whipped cream in the shape of a heart…um, and more chocolate cake. Then more raspberries and bananas, and then chocolate pudding, and then chicken. Enjoy!”

She mimicked the aspiring chefs as hostess with a big smile as she said, ‘enjoy’. The last such exhortation was accompanied by the plea, “Please don’t chop me!”

After Adam and I picked ourselves off the floor, she was told that she was the champion and that ‘her cuisine reigned supreme.’

And we often can get her to try new foods. Some parents use, ‘How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food?’ We use, ‘Chef Cat Cora made that on the Iron Chef.’ Now we’ll have to try that with cleaning up. ‘An Iron Chef never leaves a dirty table.’


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