Monthly Archives: January 2015

Cooking With Charli

There’s nothing much more fun, nor, on occasion, messier, than cooking with a grandchild. The following recipe, however, is not one to require a mop-up afterwards and is very rewarding. Charli, who is three and a half, helped me make these muffins this week. It helped that her brother Kaison (2) was taking a nap at the time!

Charli’s mother, Amanda, my granddaughter, started cooking with me at age six months. She was often with me for long spells because her mother wasn’t well–and because I loved having her with me! I would set her on the kitchen counter while I mixed and rolled and stirred. By the time she was five years old, she was trying to teach me! Her mom and her uncle Will always helped me make cookies at Christmas. One year we even made a gingerbread church. It was lovely, so lovely we wanted to save it until the next year. So we placed it carefully in a garbage bag along with moth balls, tied it securely, and set it up in the attic. But when we attemped to retrieve it, the garbage bag was empty, standing like a black castle with only one hole at ground level. There were no crumbs or any evidence at all!

But back to my great-granddaughter Charli–she was wearing a cute little skirted top over tight pants the day we cooked. Her light brown hair was in a ponytail. By the time I finished telling her that she and I were making muffins, she had pulled the step stool to the counter. “What can I do?” she asked.

I set her to work rolling refrigerated biscuits one at a time to 5″ diameter. I have an ancient plastic pastry sheet that has shapes and sizes to go by. That made it really fun for her! As she finished each 5″ circle, I would snug it down into a greased muffin tin.

By the time Charli finished rolling the dough, I had scrambled a pound of hamburger and added to it in a small bowl ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, and chili powder, all of which Charli gleefully stirred. Stirring is one of her favorite things to do!

I spooned the hamburger mixture into the biscuits-turned-muffins. Charli wanted to do that but I have my limits. She sprinkled grated cheese on top of each completed muffin before I slid the tins into the oven. Kaison was awake by the time the muffins were done and got in on the eating. He liked the inside part, picking it out, one messy bite at a time. Charli ate the outside of hers, leaving the filling on her plate!

We declared the whole process a great success, especially when Grandaddy came in for lunch and ate two whole muffins with great gusto!

Cooking with children is so well worth the time and mess! They learn how to measure, how to judge amounts by eying, how to cooperate and to tell the difference between stirring, shaking, and sprinkling. They love experiencing the smells, textures, and, of course, tastes. Plus, this cooking scene is a marvelous setting for spontaneous conversations. The laughter and cameraderie are priceless. And the children learn responsibility. Because, you know, clean up is part of any cooking job!

Here’s our recipe:

BARBECUE MUFFINS

1 tube (10 oz.) refrigerator biscuits

1 lb. ground beef

1/2 cup ketchup

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon chili powder (put less if your child doesn’t like hot)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Flatten 10 biscuits into 5 inch circles. Press each into bottom and sides of greased muffin cups. Set aside. In a skillet, brown ground beef and drain. In small bowl mix ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar and chili powder. Stir until smooth. Add to meat mixture and mix well. Divide meat mixture into 10 biscuit cups. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes. Cool five minutes before removing from cups.

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To Turn a Cow Loose

One usually hears more about the problems of catching a cow and holding a cow than about turning one loose. But there is definitely a trick to letting one go.

My veterinarian husband was on call on New Year’s Day. Now I know that New Year’s Day is way back there in your rearview mirror. After all, in our south Georgia back yard, the cherry tree is budded out like a bright pink cloud having forgotten all that cold weather that burst one of our faucets and finished off the bougainvillea. But I haven’t forgotten New Year’s Day.

It started out so nice and cozy. Charles had been out in the night treating a dog with diarrhea so he snoozed a little extra. I love to cook breakfast and this was a rarity, having time to linger over both the cooking and the eating. I cooked bacon, eggs, grits, and toast with mayhaw jelly. Charles D joined us for a piece of toast. He’s not a big breakfast eater, but he loves mayhaw jelly. Just as he left, the phone rang. It was Charles’s tech and I heard Charles saying he’d be right there. So the leisure was over.

He didn’t appear again until late afternoon. I knew at once something had happened. He looked just a bit grayer than usual and was grinning sheepishly like someone who’s backed into a telephone pole.

He told me what happened. He’d been called to treat a down cow over in Decatur County. She had a load of parasites, he diagnosed, and needed a dewormer and vitamins. He had taken young Nathaniel, a fairly new tech-in-progress from the office because the owner wasn’t able to do much, and he needed someone to help. The cow was in an open pasture and, as reported, down. As he was putting the rope around her neck, she stood up and pulled back against the rope choking herself back into a down position. Nate kept the rope tight and Charles gave her the needed injections.

Charles said he was explaining to “Nate” that releasing the cow could sometimes be a bit tricky and for him to step back. I’ve heard him myself preparing for this very thing. “Don’t release the rope until you’re ready to get out of the way,” he has said so many times. And this time, too.

But there comes the time when one opens the door to trouble. He released the rope and stepped back quickly. But the cow was quicker. She charged him with head down and hit him full in the chest knocking him winding, with hat going one way and glasses the other.

“I lay there, unable to speak. Nate was hollering, ‘Doc, you okay?’ And I finally mumbled, “Not yet.”

As they travelled back toward Grady County with Nate driving, Charles was nauseated, and stuck his head out the window to feel the cool air. He says he asked Nate if he knew where the Bainbridge hospital was, in case he passed out. Nate hadn’t experienced many emergencies and certainly not one involving an old doc and a cow. He turned almost as white as “the old Doc,” I think!

But they didn’t go to the hospital. Praise the Lord, Charles was okay. Once he got his bearings and was able to breathe normally, he was just a grateful, very grateful, man. So he’d returned to the animal hospital and worked a couple more hours on emergencies the other tech had taken in while he was gone.

He’s had no ill effects other than a small sore spot on the edge of his sternum. And, as you may imagine, the story, has entered his log of tales to tell.

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