No TV, no Ipods, no video games. . .books, board games, playing cards and lots of quality time. The kids don’t even ask about the wired, brain draining distractions that drive me up the wall back home. They know the deal and they actually look forward to it too. When my kids are bored, instead of turning on a screen, they use their imaginations to find something to do. And often they’ll end up in the kitchen, cooking and creating together.
A culinary highlight of our summer vacation this year was my daughter’s homemade french-fries or “batatas fritas” as they’re called in Portugal. She spent hours cutting her potatoes into perfect squares and sticks, cooking them lightly in olive oil, seasoning them with salt and then arranging them on a plate, which she would proudly present to her hungry family. My mother was her sous chef, standing by to help out and make sure that she was safely handling the hot oil.
The fries had no chance of course, devoured in a matter of seconds by her family, like ravenous piranhas. After the feeding frenzy, the only trace of her hard work was the damp paper towel used for straining the oil.
One day, I joined her in her potato making extravaganza. I was inspired by her perfect squares and began carving letters to form my three kid’s names. She didn’t know what I was up to at first but when she saw the letters sizzling she began to help me cut. Together we cut, salted and sizzled until we had created perfect potato names for each of my three kids. When we presented the platter, their faces lit up with excitement. I snapped a quick photo before they were wolfed down.
Now back to reality, I’d like to figure out a way to bottle the formula for old fashioned fun. I’ll work on maintaining some vacation magic, especially in the kitchen.