With our family only going out for short walks and only one of us (me) going out for supplies when necessary, my 17 year old is stuck at home with us. He was supposed to be working towards graduation from high school, hanging out with his friends and girlfriend, supposed to be at hockey combines and tryouts to secure a place on a Jr. Hockey team and he is supposed to be starting college in January depending on where he plays. All this has ground to a halt because of the spread of COVID-19. But he’s taking it in stride, keeping it together as best as he can and has agreed to get a jump start on learning how to cook, considering how much time we have on our hands.
Today, I decided to add to his repertoire of hot dogs, English muffin breakfast sandwiches, pancakes ( that he makes from scratch I might add), eggs two ways and anything he can take out of a box, follow directions and make. I decided to start with spaghetti and meatballs. This is a simple meal he can make for the family or when he is living on his own and needs an easy decent meal after practice or school.
I had him season a bit less than a pound of ground beef. I encouraged him to look at and smell the different seasonings and spices in the cupboard to see if he could recognize what I use when I make meatballs. Logan chose Worcestershire sauce, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder and salt and pepper. Trying our best to stay home, we only want to go out when we have enough items on our grocery list to warrant a trip to the store. So, in lieu of garlic cloves and onions, which we ran out of, he used the powder instead. Next, I had him fold in some bread crumbs to keep the meatballs in tact and showed him how to get his hands in there and shape them. With short demos and verbal guidance, I watched Logan prepare our meal like he’d been doing it for years. Yes, it was a simple meal but he did it mostly on his own and was very confident in the way he was moving about the kitchen. I had him use the slow cooker and explained to him that this was a way to prepare food and have it cook safely and thoroughly.
This is a time for us all to share – but not to share germs. We need to share kindness, love and understanding by taking the responsible measures to wash our hands, keep our belongings clean, to stay home and only go out when necessary. It is a time to reach out via social media, phone calls, texts and e mails. It is a time to care not just about ourselves and our loved ones but about everyone. Utilize the time to try something new. For me, there is no excuse not to work on my book during this time. I have so much time now, that I can cook more with my family and share my ideas of using what you have to make tasty meals. I encourage you to try them and feel free to share your ideas with me. Use up what you have in the kitchen before you absolutely have to go grocery shopping. As half of a pair of financial advisors I will also tell you that it is a good time to try and hold on to your money. Use what you have to make meals until you really need to replenish supplies. There is no need to spend money hoarding. Driving less means less wear and tear on your vehicle and less need to fill up the gas tank (even though the prices are super low now). Sleep longer, read more, listen to your thoughts and if you are so inclined, meditate or pray. We could all use some more peace and serenity in our lives. This is our chance to have it. Isolation is hard but if we do it, it will be shorter than if we don’t.
So, without further ado, here is my younger son’s contribution to my Cooking through COVID-19 blog series.I present to you Mr. Logan James’ spaghetti and meatballs dinner. – a recipe in pictures.
Once he seasoned with a teaspoon of the following – oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper, onion powder and Worcestershire Sauce and a table spoon of herb seasoned breadcrumbs, Logan formed 15 mid-sized meatballs.
Using 1/2 can of spaghetti sauce and about 1/4 cup of his dad’s home made tomato sauce, Logan placed the sauce and the meatballs in the slow cooker and set the time for 3 hours on low, stirring occasionally.
Next he got his pasta going in lightly salted water.I passed onto him the unnecessary but traditional family ritual (from my side) of breaking the dry spaghetti in half before putting it into the boiling water. Logan is quite a physical male child (lol) who really enjoyed doing this. Once a few minutes passed, I showed him how to carefully pull a strand of spaghetti to check if it had become al dente because no one wants to eat a bowl of soggy noodles and reminded him to drain the pasta leaving a bit of the water in the pot to keep that slightly salted flavour.
While the pasta was boiling, I had him utilize the time to shred the cheese showing him how to be careful with his fingers and how to be the first James man to not have shredded cheese all over the counter during the process. Logan likes a cheese that will melt easily but he does not like the light flavour of mozzarella so he chose a 2 year old cheddar instead.
Adding his father’s signature garlic bread as a finishing touch, Logan plated and presented us with our very tasty and filling meal. Oh! We are so proud of him!
Look for more recipes from Logan as he learns to cook during this time of isolation as well as recipes from his father and me. If you have time please try our ideas and feel free to share some of your favourites that you are cooking while isolating at home. We can all do our part to stop the spread of this virus and have a little fun and family time while we wait this out.