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Hi everyone, it's Karen. I hope you enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday! My 11-year-old son has always been curious about the kitchen (much more so than my 14-year-old daughter)! As a toddler, he was so excited to be in the kitchen that we had to get him a special step stool so he could safely stand at the counter to "help." He also had a pretty elaborate play kitchen that saw many years of use. As he's grown older, his curiosity remains, but now he can get in the kitchen and experiment with real food and gadgets! 

For better or for worse, he draws most of his kitchen inspiration from YouTube videos. I can't tell you how many times he has come to me with his iPad in my face, saying "Mom, can I make this?" Now, he often goes ahead without asking because he has a pretty good grasp of what he feels confident doing on his own. 

It's an interesting dynamic because I don't usually spend more time in the kitchen than I need to. I spend time there because it's how you feed yourself and your family in an affordable and healthy-ish way. It is a very transactional experience for me. But I am inspired by my son's curiosity, desire to try new things, and the satisfaction he feels when he makes something "cool."  I realized that I could benefit by trying to view food and cooking from his perspective. Mostly because he approaches all of it as experiments. Sure, he loves it when the end product tastes good, but he loves the process even more. And I think this attitude makes all the difference. Imagine what we could accomplish if we focused more on the process than the outcome? We'd feel a lot freer to experiment if we weren't worried about the final result. And we'd probably have fun and learn a thing or two along the way. So go ahead, throw caution to the wind, and try something new in your kitchen. You never know where it might take you! 

Here are a few of the "greatest hits" from my son's experiments in the kitchen:

Microwave mug cake

Microwave chocolate chip cookies

Toaster grilled cheese

Warm vanilla milk (this week's recipe!)