Kool-Aid, Popcorn, and Parenting in the Age of Junk Food
Sometimes you need a break from the craziness of this modern age, which is why we’re celebrating nostalgic foods this week at BonAppetit.com.
The frying pan held sizzling oil and five popcorn kernels waiting to explode. The electric coils of the stove’s burner blazed red, and there he was, my brown-eyed, early-bird, eight-year-old son, watching tentatively to make his next move. It was 7 a.m. and I was in desperate need of coffee.
Pop, pop, pop, the kernels ricocheted off the lid. My son carefully grabs the silicone handle and raises the lid nearly above his head. Stoves are not made for little people. He let a bit too much steam escape before dutifully adding the remaining ½ cup of kernels to the pan. He secures the lid with one hand, grabs the handle of the frying pan with the other, and vigorously shakes it in a steady motion until each kernel is covered with the spattering oil.
“Popcorn for breakfast, huh?” I said, trying to sound calm and laid-back, as if it was no big deal that my son turned on the stove to heat oil without thinking to mention it to me or ask my permission. I suppose this is what children do. They begin to grow up the moment we decide to take a shower or walk the dog. I want my kids to feed themselves. I want them to feel comfortable in the kitchen, and without me, so I tried to play it cool, but he’s my firstborn, the oldest child, and only son. He has no idea that I’m terrified every single day.
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