Welcome to Exceptional Cuisine, the blog of Kitchen Korps designed to share cooking experiences, kitchen tools and appliances, tips of the trade, recipes and how to’s, and most of all how families are having fun in the kitchen! My name is Marie Abbatoy and I was chosen to write the blog for Kitchen Korps. I, myself, having been a nurse for 40 years, raised my family on fast put-together meals and cooking was just a chore that had to be done in order to feed my family. Since retiring, however, I have found a fun haven in my kitchen and have been trying out recipes, cooking techniques, etc. In other words, I have been finding the fun of cooking!
Ever since the pandemic arrived, families have been homebound and figuring out how to have some family fun while still abiding by the homebound rule. The kitchen has become one of those places where families can gather and cook up a great meal together and have fun doing it! Children love to create and thoroughly enjoy decorating cookies and candies. Teens and adult children love to show their parents the cooking skills they have developed and the dishes they have learned to make. Through the teaching and learning, family members have bonded once again and those kitchen experiences have become some of the memories we will cherish! Now that the pandemic restrictions have eased, families continue to share time in the kitchen together. Let’s continue to keep that togetherness and continue to cook together and share fun in the kitchen!!
Today I canned tomatoes with my six year old grandson. Now it’s been over 30 years since I did any serious canning, but I looked up the recipe and method online and it appeared relatively easy. Before my grandson was allowed in the kitchen, I prepared my stock pot canner and filled it with water to a height that would be over and covering the tops of the jars and started the water to boil.In the meantime, I washed my jars and lids in warm soapy water and rinsed them and set them aside until the water in the canner was boiling.Once boiling, I put the washed jars in the canner and let them boil for 10 minutes.Then I took the lids and screwtops and put them a bowl and poured some of the boiling water over them.I also filled a separate pan with water and set it to boil.
When the other pot was boiling, I invited my grandson in and gave him a seat at the sink. I spoke about the dangers of boiling water and requested that he not go near the stove area. We then began preparing the tomatoes by placing them one by one in the boiling water for 30 seconds, then putting them in a bowl of cold water to loosen the peeling. Once cooled, the tomatoes were peeled one by one, cored, and quartered and placed in a bowl to await the next step.We formed an assembly line of sorts and my grandson delighted in being part of this canning process
Once the tomatoes were all peeled and prepared, I showed the lad how to fill the jars and add some juice and two tablespoons lemon juice to increase the acidity. We carefully wiped the rim of each jar to make sure there was nothing on them that could prevent a good seal. Once this was done, we put the lids and screw caps on. Finally I showed him the final step of placing the jars into the boiling water to process for 45 minutes. As we finished the final step, I saw a look of accomplishment on his face and I was told, “You are so smart grandma-this is so cool.” I doubt he’ll forget this experience and neither will I! It was so much fun to see his eyes when I pulled out my big stock pot and to be able to teach him a cooking art that has been handed down through the ages to preserve foods.
So what is your story with your family? How have you been having and sharing cooking fun? Perhaps you, too were that smart grandma your grandchildren admire. I would love to hear your experiences. Feel free to email me at Kitchenkorps@gmail.com! We have much more to come so stay tuned!!