Young Cultivator Merit Badge: Table Talk, Expert Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 7,466 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—10,836 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! ~MaryJane 

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life

For this week’s Farm Kitchen/Table Talk Expert Level Young Cultivator Merit Badge, I enlisted all three of my fab favorite kitchen minions: Andy, Nora, and Piper. After all, they were all ready to earn this badge and a bird in the hand is worth three in the kitchen. Or something like that.

Anyway, they got to work planning out their menu, since this Expert Level badge was all about making dinner and being adventurous about it, to boot. Adventure is in these kids’ blood, I tell ya, so this was not going to be a problem. At least, that’s what I thought.

Trying to get them to agree on supper plans was pretty exhausting and time consuming. I needed a snack just to keep my blood sugar up. Finally, after some serious arguments, tiffs, quarrels, and squabbles (not to mention arm-wrestling matches), they decided they would each pick out a dish. After all, it was going to be a full meal deal, righto?

Going with their spirits of adventure and trying new things, I steered them away from standby favorites, such as macaroni and cheese, hamburgers, and pizza. I let them browse through my cookbook collection and scroll through Pinterest, and they came up with some pretty interesting menu ideas.

Okay, so they didn’t flow together all that great, but we decided to call it A Trip Around the World Buffet. Andy chose fish tacos, Nora picked Savory Crepes, and Piper had her heart set on Ratatouille.

photo by Arnold Gatilao via Wikimedia Commons

I wished I had a bigger kitchen.

I ate another snack.

Piper’s dish was going to take the longest to prepare and cook, so I let her get started first. She learned how to use a mandoline (no, not the instrument, my peeps—that’s a mandolin, but the slicing kind). The bounty from my garden was getting some serious lovin’. We used eggplant, yellow squash, zucchini, red and green peppers, fresh basil, garlic, plum tomatoes, and red onion. The smell was divine! She artfully arranged all our slices in a beautiful pattern and we put it in the oven.

Then Nora was up with her Savory Crepes. Crepes are fun for everyone because you can put anything inside of them. Nora took this decision seriously and really got her knickers in a twist over the pairings. She finally decided on mushrooms, pesto, and turkey. We made a simple batter and I must say, she got pretty darn good at flipping. One or two or seven might have ended on the floor, but practice makes perfect and she figured out her crepe-making mojo.

Then we let Andy back in the kitchen, and he was a whirling dervish. It was like the Tasmanian Devil was whipping up the fish tacos. Back and forth he went, stirring his Sweet and Spicy Chili sauce, dipping his halibut in salt and pepper and cumin, heating up his corn tortillas, and chopping up lettuce, cilantro, and radishes.

At the end? We had a feast of epic culinary proportions. We were all so full, it felt like we had eaten Thanksgiving early!

And the state of my kitchen?

Don’t ask.

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    At least they chose healthy options! Getting consensus about food with children is not an easy task, or least least that was my experience. Those were the days when my high schooler came home and declared she was Vegan. Great. A carnivore Dad, a picky, picky sister, and me. I just wanted OUT of the kitchen trying to come up with one meal. Did I mention Cheerios were a constant staple in my pantry??!!!

  2. Krista says:

    Oh I am so excited for when I can teach my boys to make me dinner! Hopefully they will take after my dad and be awesome chefs! I haven’t had the opportunity to try Ratatouille but I definitely want to try it sometime. Maybe one of my boys will make it for me. Fish tacos sounds pretty yummy right about now. Must be lunch time!

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