On one of our last days in Oaxaca, we took the ultimate risk by bringing a baby and a toddler to a five-hour cooking class. We came equipped with toddler knives and Casa Crespo was equipped with tiny aprons and hats. We designed a menu and hit the market, then began creating tamales, tortilla soup, mole, squash blossom tacos, fresh tortillas, and chocolate ice cream. Emerson chopped and blended and poured and stirred (even when it wasn’t necessary). Our translator and the chef worked harder than they ever had in a class before since our help was slow and incomplete and interrupted often by snack and laxative breaks. Shiloh, completely stimulated by the busy kitchen, finally fell asleep on Andrew just as it was time to sit down to eat.
Emerson ate nothing but the ice cream, Shiloh missed it all, and Andrew and I ate in our characteristic rushed and grateful style. It’s hard to know what children get from various experiences, but in this case, Emerson showed us his delight, finding every opportunity to play cooking class in the days to come.