has begun. Two more weeks… one more week… five more days, I’ve beenhearing. And then this morning: Three more days till Oktoberfest! Thekids can barely contain their excitement.
I, however, have a slightly different perspective. Three more days? Three more days?? I’ve simply got to get something done around here. This morning I decided to get a start on some baking. The beer rolls seemed a good place to start. One batch with Bass Ale and one batch with Guinness: black and tan buns, if you will.
Of course I had help. Whether I liked it or not, I had help.Juliette agreed to hold the baby, but Raphael and Gabrielle each took afront row seat at the kitchen counter. I must have been saying “Don’ttouch!” an awful lot because Gabrielle wound up telling me that sheintended to be good now—and to prove it she held her hands behind herback.
Raphael was not quite so accommodating. Thanks in large part to thediligent work of my Kitchen Aid mixer, though, I managed to get thekneading done. As I was preparing the dough for the first rise, Raphaelslapped a small fat hand directly on top of the gooey mound. He grinnedwith delight at the feel of the dough within his grasp.
Something about the sight of that small hand with its widespreadfingers reminded me of a phrase I learned as a French student yearsago: la main à la pâte. Literally, the hand in the dough.Figuratively, however, it means active participation in the plans andpreparations for a particular project. Hands-on learning.
Raphael has la main à la pâte, all right. All the kids do.Whatever else I might do, my children inevitably end up right therealongside… doing it too. When children make up a significant percentageof your household membership, there’s just no way around it. Yourchildren’s wants, needs, ideas, preferences, and opinions become thebasics around which the rest of your life is built.
My children’s small hands are in the dough. In the laundry. In thewriting. And in the kitchen cabinets. Sometimes I get impatient and Iwish their hands were not quite so much a part of everything. Butthat’s only when I allow myself to forget. That my life is a recipe.And these kids are essential ingredients.