We started Bachelor Camp yesterday afternoon, with a lesson on “how to whip up a seasonal fruit salad from whatever you happen to have hanging around the house – or can find at the market.” I hauled out the watermelon left from the Fourth of July, some grapes, strawberries, pineapple, mandarin oranges, a couple of leftover blueberries rattling around in the bottom of the basket and some coconut and called the boys down.
We'd already discussed the idea of Bachelor Camp and they were all for it, so I passed out aprons and cutting boards while they washed their hands. While we worked I was able to sneak in a few lessons about hygiene, proper food handling, cleaning-up-as-you-go, and the kudos a young man in his first cubicle job could gain by bringing a multi-ingredient fruit salad to the office potluck instead of a few bags of chips. This quickie first lesson was all the more rewarding to the scholars because it culminated in something they could eat.
Today's lesson featured Knives, Their Care and Feeding. First I exhibited one of every type of kitchen knife we have (which turns out to be quite a collection; Lance is sort of a knife snob). After we discussed the How and Why of the different types, their uses and care, and how to choose new knives if you're buying them, we had a chopping lesson. I favor the Julia Child method of choking up on the blade itself and rocking the bejesus out of a chef's knife, so we practiced that and the boys were all impressed about how much easier that technique is than the usual “chop...move the knife...chop...move the knife" scenario.
Then Lance took over for the Sharpening segment. First he showed them how to use a steel to straighten the blade, then he taught them to use the sharpener. (He favors a V-type ceramic sharpener.) I actually learned a lot today too; I only knew how to sharpen knives the old-fashioned way using oil and a whetstone, this way is quite a bit easier. With 3 young males turned loose with steels, stones and knives, you'd better BELIEVE that now everything edged in my kitchen can split a hair from twenty paces. Oo, I should show them how to sharpen a shovel.
It seems that the more I think about it the more ideas I come up with for the list of What Adults Should Know. Today I added: a magic trick (for charming children), what to say to someone who's suffered a loss, how to drive a stick shift, how to give a toast, how to dance (waltz, swing and teenage) and how to write a resume and a cover letter.
In other news, today was “Tea with Mom Day” for me and Jack (he has Tuesdays) and the learning continued; our favorite soda jerk (Yes! We found a real old-timey soda fountain right in our 'hood!) told us that a chocolate malted made with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup – as opposed to just chocolate ice cream – is called a “Black and Tan.” We now consider ourselves to have the inside – um – scoop.
This is a fun project – I can't wait to see where it takes us!