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Parenting

Kitchen experiments with the kids – just the thing for half-term

Edible slime, jelly worms, ‘unicorn noodles’: what better way to entertain children than by making a mess in the name of science?

The last time I did science in the home with an 11-year-old, something happened that I can’t tell you about until the person whose chair it was has died. That is my abiding conclusion about the natural sciences: they stain, and don’t let anybody ever tell you they won’t.

Nevertheless, I have just undertaken science in the kitchen – nudged by a new book, The Kitchen Science Cookbook by Michelle Dickinson – because I have exhausted all the other ways of getting them to join me there. “This dish reminds me of evenings spent making bechamel with my mother, her apron brushing against my cheek as we spake of fat and its magical alchemy,” said every cookbook ever, but my parenting is much more in the Johnny Ball style: “Kids, you can’t teach them anything, but they learn everything from you.” I’m still in phase one: they will not touch my wisdom with a bargepole. C, 11, will enter the kitchen for anything that ends in a cake, but then we just end up with a load of cake. H, nine, will promise me the moon on a stick, then get distracted by a bee. T, 11, thinks it is emasculating to crack an egg. It wasn’t for the science that I tried a new tack; it was just for the company. Plus it was half-term, and you have to keep them occupied somehow.

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Read more: theguardian.com

Categories
Parenting

Rachel Roddy’s recipe for pizza rustica | A kitchen in Rome

At this time of year in Rome, it’s traditional to pair the first broad beans with pecorino

Our rental agreement came with all the usual clauses, but also a verbal one: take care of the tortoise on the terrace. This unexpected role has brought me joy. I had no idea how fast a tortoise could move in the presence of watermelon, or that the movement would be a lolloping scamper. However, it has also caused great anxiety. At least once a day, I can’t find the tortoise (on our 5m x 5m terrace) or need to scare off a seagull with the wingspan of a lamp-post.

This anxiety peaked during hibernation, which began in early November and seemed never to end. And I’m clearly not the only one: start typing “tortoise hibernating” into Google, and before you hit the letter “o”, the words “or dead” appear. I spent the whole of February and half of March worrying that the tortoise, named Secret Agent by my son, was no longer with us in body, only shell. Then, one day, he strolled to the middle of the terrace, stopping to sunbathe as if nothing had happened. Relief was soon displaced by further anxiety when he showed no interest in eating, ignoring every leaf or slice of green apple.

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Read more: theguardian.com