Summerly recently requested that I make banana bread, and when I mentioned this to my friend Kate, she suggested I use the mix from Trader Joe’s instead of my usual “from scratch” recipe. I picked up the mix that very afternoon, eager to accomplish the task using fewer ingredients and in less time, but instead of adding water per the instructions, I used four defrosted bananas with their liquid. The baking process yielded a deliciously odoriferous kitchen and a beautifully-textured loaf with a close crumb, the taste of which Summerly didn’t much like. She was a great sport about it, though, so I suggested that, because it required more time and work, she could help me make my old recipe on the weekend. We looked over the ingredient list and added plain yogurt to the online shopping order in preparation, and she commented, “This one will taste more better because we’re going to make it together.” Be still, my heart! But I couldn’t let the grammar flub go unremarked upon, so I hugged her and said, “I agree! But you mean it’ll taste better, not more better.” She shook her head. “No, Mommy. It’ll taste better because it’s the old recipe, which just tastes better. It’ll taste more better because of the ‘together’ part.” Well, you can’t argue with logic.
Fast forward a day or so, to a night when we were having sausages, latkes, and green beans for dinner. The kids asked for cinnamon to put on the leftover applesauce I’d served as an accompaniment to the latkes, and Summerly asked for more salt on her green beans. I handed over the seasonings so they could administer them, and after dinner I noticed that Summerly’s placemat was smattered with cinnamon on one side and salt on the other. I asked her to clean up her space, so she wiped the cinnamon into her hand the way I’d taught her and dumped it in the garbage. Then she she went back, looked directly at me, licked her fingertip, touched it to the salt, and licked her fingertip again. She repeated this motion about six times, until all of the salt was gone, her eyes locked on mine the whole time. I said nothing until she’d finished, but a moment later I reflected, just to be sure we were on the same page, “You just cleaned up the salt by eating it off your finger.” In an even, uninflected tone, she replied, “Of course I did. You know me.”
Bold move, kid.