I was in the midst of happiness the other day!
It all started when Little Missy and Little Sir, my delightful grandchildren, donned aprons in order to prepare their food exhibits for the Iowa State Fair. The activity was held on a Sunday afternoon and was sandwiched in between a baseball game and summer block party.
In past years, each little state-fair baker had a “Grandma Day” all to themselves when we could bake to our hearts’ content—uninterrupted. Due to the constraints of time, this year was a horse of another color, Dear Readers.
First-Born Dear Daughter (FBDD), mama to the 8 year-old and 6 year-old volunteered to join our threesome baking party in order to give individualized attention to each junior baker. It made the event a jolly-good time!
Input from the Grands
Throughout the year, I consulted with my Grands about their entry ideas. Sure enough, once they each decided on a baked product to make, they didn’t waiver.
From the get-go, Little Missy was determined to create Grandma’s Cranberry Orange Bread recipe. To top it off, a Pastel Angel Food Cake was on the docket, too.
What was Little Sir’s choice, Dear Readers? It was his very favorite Almond Poppy Seed Bread. The little guy had measured and mixed his way into the state fair food department last year with a different recipe. He was eager to create another type of baked product! FBDD was his mentor and knowledgeable coach.
I was watching Little Missy crack and separate egg whites from egg yolks for her angel food cake. She performed this task with the skill of a culinary master and made certain that not a trace of egg yolk was visible within the soon-to-be-whipped egg whites. A sponge cake requires a more skillful mixing technique of folding rather than stirring the batter. To top it off, this young artist divided the pure white batter into five bowls creating a pastel palette which resulted in a masterpiece in cake form.
Was the occasion without moments of excitement, Dear Readers? Oh, we had our laughable moments! Batter was known to have been spattered all over when the mixer speed was accidentally turned to high. But soap and water does a great job for cleaning up messes!
Can a six-year-old hold a teaspoon and measure fast-pouring vanilla extract into a tiny teaspoon measure, Dear Readers? It’s difficult to avoid spilling. But with the aid of having a clean measuring cup positioned underneath the teaspoon, any vanilla that missed its target was salvaged!
With each time I have the opportunity to bake with my grandchildren, I see how they have matured in the development of their large and small motor skills. Attention spans broaden as interest in baking something good to eat unfolds. Baking truly opens the doors of education with yummy end results!
And these “Remember When” moments just keep adding to the great chapter of “Family” in the book of life!
A Learning Process
Perhaps, Dear Readers, you might be interested in learning that no colorful ribbons were earned at this year’s Iowa State Fair for my two junior bakers.
However, I certainly learned something heart-warming in the process! After the judging was completed, Little Missy tapped me on the arm and soothingly said, “It’s okay Grandma. We’ll take them (their entries) home and enjoy eating them as a family anyway.” What maturity! Talk about a Grand Champion lesson taught by a fourth grader to this decades’-old baker!
In the Life-Lessons-Learned Department, I’d say that we all were purple-ribbon winners that day!
Will my Grands enter the Iowa State Fair next year, Dear Readers? They are already talking about it!