This was a big day.
Lu has been in the kitchen with us since she was born. Her first few months, she spent a great deal of time in her bouncy chair in our Seattle kitchen, as we cooked and wrote down recipes for our first cookbook. As soon as she could stand, no matter how wobbly her legs, she stood next to me on a chair at the counter. (Mostly, she loved to crawl on the counter, especially when I was baking.) And since then, she has learned how to stir stock, scramble eggs, and move the spatula around a hot skillet. We stood beside her, smiling, and reminding her to be aware of the hot stove.
A couple of years ago, we bought some nylon chef knives for her. They’re sharp enough to chop carrots but never cut her. She has loved those knives.
A few weeks ago, she was suddenly bored with them. She wanted more. She wanted to use the sharp knife.
So Danny let her hold a real chef knife in her hands, with his hand on top of hers. He showed her how to put her left hand down to hold the food, slide her thumb behind her fingers, and curl her fingers in to protect the tips. For the past few weeks, she has been using the training wheels of her dada’s hands on hers.
This morning, she decided, she wanted to do it on her own. I picked a bunch of chard from the garden and stood beside her as she picked up the chef’s knife, curled the fingers on her left hand, and chopped a stem from a leaf. And then she did it again. And again. And again.
She was so proud that she stood up straight and grinned. We clapped, of course. But when she waved the knife in the air to celebrate, we both swooped in to teach her that wasn’t a good idea. And then we clapped for her chopping again.
And so it begins, an entire lifetime of chopping vegetables to make her own meals.
It really was a big day.