Author Archives: jessicafederbirnbaum

Cooking with Brent

This summer I’m teaching my 17-year-old son Brent how to cook. Every year I say the same thing. But this time I mean it. I never had to teach my 15-year-old daughter Danya. She’s picked it up by osmosis and whips up dishes like grilled vegetable and arugula salad, and whole wheat pasta with capers and sun-dried tomato pesto.

I realize there’s something deeper in not getting Brent in the kitchen with me. If Brent learns how to cook, he won’t need me. I’m also a kitchen gate keeper. I get in there, and spread out produce, olive oil and spices. The kitchen looks like a tornado hit it, and it’s not a welcoming place. My daughter somehow manages to find a place to put a chopping board. Brent intimidated by the chaos, stays away. I cringe at what I’ve created – a son who’s afraid to make his own food.

No more. Brent and I have talked it over. We’ve agreed that at the end of his mastering culinary skills – he will receive a $20 stipend. He told me he’d like to start with sushi. I picture us buying fresh tuna in Hells Kitchen – and going to the Japanese Market M2M in the East Village for sushi rice, vinegar, nori and wasabi.

Instead of me choosing what we have for dinner, I’ll let Brent decide. I wonder how we’ll fare: the Mom who needs to ease up – and the son who’s about to step up. I wish us both
– Bon Appetit!

Jessica Feder-Birnbaum
Advisory Board Member, Mamapalooza
Guest blogger