In the South, we eat fried bologna sandwiches. I am not really sure if Northerners eat fried bologna or not. Can someone please tell me?
My great-grandmother made me fried bologna sandwiches when I was small and they were one of the first things that I ever cooked all by myself. Envision this...at the ripe old age of 4 (yes, I do mean four years old) I pull the little cast iron skillet out of the stove drawer. It was the one reserved for frying bologna, grilling cheese sandwiches, and occasionally scrambling an egg. I go to the fridge and get a little scoop of real butter out and put it in the pan. I amble over to a chair and set my pan down in the chair. Next I push the chair over to the stove, climb up, set the pan on the eye, and gasp light the eye (you guessed it, we had a gas range). As my butter started to melt, I jump from the chair get a piece of bologna from the fridge and a fork from the drawer. Now we are cooking with gas, quite literally. Nanny (that is what I call my great-grandmother) stood idly by in case I needed her. I used my little fork to cut the edges and center of the bologna after it started to puff up. For those of you who have never fried a piece of bologna, it starts to look like a mushroom cap ballooning out of the pan when the heat starts to hit it. Once it was cooked to my liking, it went on toasted white Sunbeam bread with ketchup. Now a days I still eat the occasional fried bologna sandwich. Now I eat it on untoasted wheat bread with mayo and mustard, and there are usually two slices of bologna. Though I hate processed meats and nitrates and all those other nasty things which are part of bologna, sometimes these sandwiches simply warm my soul. If you eat fried bologna, I would like to know how you eat it.
The other funny thing here to me is the fact that I was in the kitchen cooking at age 4. By the time I was 12, I was cutting coupons, reading the weekly ads and doing the grocery shopping. I realize that shopping at 12 was a necessity for us. My great-grandmother was 74 and my great-grandfather was 82 and suffering from severe Alzheimer's. But, I think that Nanny in her infinite wisdom was also preparing me for adulthood.
Don't be afraid to get your children into the kitchen with you. You do them a great injustice by not teaching them their way around a kitchen. A child as young as 8 can safely handle a knife if taught proper knife skills. If you don't know your way around a knife, let me know and I will come teach the whole family. By 12 they really can be doing anything in the kitchen. I encourage you to make your teens responsible for planning and preparing one family meal a week. Get your little ones in the kitchen for things as simple as mixing the sugar into the tea or stirring the Kool-Aid. When I am working on recipes for the cookbook, Marcus is sitting in the high chair in the kitchen watching me. When I make a sandwich for him, or other easy foods, he stands beside me at the counter on a foot stool watching what I do. The little guy gets very upset if I run the KitchenAid mixer and he is not able to get into the kitchen to see what's cooking. For those of you who don't know me, Marcus is all of 18 months old.
As they say on Food Network, "COOK WITH YOUR KIDS!!!"