Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Creativity: How do I love you, tempura? Let me fry the ways.

As a parent, I love stepping out of the way when teaching something to my kids.  This is the only way to see where my kids minds are and let them appreciate the fruits of their own creativity.

9 times out of 10, I'll use the Joy of Cooking for basic food recipes,  but recently I grabbed an old $40 Japanese cookbook.  I probably would never spend that much on a book today, so I figured I'd get some use out of it.

Bookmarked with a paper fan, was the page on making tempura.  There was a description of how Spanish and Portuguese missionaries brought frying into the Japanese culture, but I jumped to the section I underlined years ago with the instructions on how to prepare the batter and make ingredient stations.

A few minutes later, my stations were stocked with carrots, red and green peppers, and cranberries.  My kids made their own stations of animal crackers, bananas, chocolate, and sesame seeds with oatmeal.

The experiment was beautiful, because in a matter morsel moments, I got to revisit something my wife and I probably took for granted before kids: being able to insert some food in the mouth and being 100% sensitive to the new textures and tastes.  Banana tempura was a hit for me, because it was crunchy on the outside and warm, sweet, and gooey on the inside.

I was so inspired, I proceeded to toss blobs of batter in the sunflower oil and after it was fried I placed a large amount of sliced cheese on top.  My son and I fell in love with the melted cheese tempura as well and I hope to repeat this experiment soon.