My little girl opens a blue coil-bound book called C is for Cooking: Recipes from the Street, complete with an apron-clad Elmo, Cookie Monster and Zoe on the cover, and turns to page 116. I remind her to wash her hands with soap and water and she retreats to the washroom. Returning, she dons a bright red and green Minnie Mouse apron, and starts collecting the ingredients one by one: flour, sugar, butter, eggs, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, yogurt, applesauce, vegetable oil, and vanilla. My little girl grabs a chair to kneel on at the kitchen table while she stirs the dry ingredients with a big wooden spoon. I set the oven 25 degrees below the directions in the recipe since my stove burns everything. My little girl takes an egg, gently cracks it on the side of the counter and nothing happens; she tries again until she makes a slight crack, then breaks open the egg with her small index finger and pours its contents into the bowl, retrieving any remnants of shell she can find. I pour in the applesauce since my daughter is not a fan of apples. My little girl blends the wet ingredients with the dry ones. I gently tuck some strands of hair back behind her hair, the ones that have escaped from her ponytail. Later, my little girl sports a chocolate moustache; I try to wipe it off, but she'll have no part of it. I place the two cake pans into my warm oven and set the timer for 50 minutes. As the chocolate cake bakes in the oven, we assemble the remaining ingredients and I make the icing, while my little girl dips her finger in the bowl for a taste test. My daughter leafs through the recipe book while I ice the cake. Now that "Elmo's Hurray It's My Birthday! Chocolate Cake" is complete, it looks like a tornado has just torn through my kitchen: baking ingredients cover my counter, dirty dishes fill my sink and flour sprinkles my kitchen table. But it was all worth it for the look on my little girl's face. We close up the cookbook and put it in the cupboard for our next culinary experience. Will it be "Abby Cadabby's Pumpkin Muffins" or "Cookie Monster's Me-Love-Mini-Meat-Loaves" or "Rosita's Pita Pizzas"? While C is for Cooking has some great recipes, it's the company that makes the experience unforgettable. Bon Appetit!
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