Reaping the Rewards (and man are they tasty!)

Many of us bake with our kids. They love it and we grin and bear the mess while we share some special and memorable moments with our children. If you, like me, have ever wondered if it is all worth it; allow me to assure you that it absolutely is. Yesterday after-school Kaia, who’s eleven, made her second ever key lime meringue pie, from scratch.  She first attempted this on a whim a couple weeks ago and I’m not sure she knew what she was getting herself into.

The older girls bake and cook frequently with little supervision required so admittedly I was only half paying attention when she asked, “Can you use limes instead of lemons in a lemon meringue pie?”

“Of course.” I replied, “Then it would just be a lime meringue pie.”
About 20 minutes later, the kitchen is covered in bowls, sticky spoons, chunks of lime and she is separating eggs while something thick and greenish is bubbling on the stove when it dawns on me: Oh my God she is making a lemon meringue pie from scratch!

This is a feat that many seasoned bakers would not attempt. I can only recall one or two that my Nanna made and those were very special occasions. Two hours of hand whisking egg whites later the pie is in the oven. “You guys need to get a hand mixer.” I state as I flop onto the couch. The pie (with it’s not so fluffy meringue) was consumed in it’s entirety by six kids and one grown up on a picnic in the park the following afternoon.

Fast forward just over a week and Kaia and I are standing in the kitchen while she is fiddling with the box that contains the hand mixer her Granny has just bought her, “Can I make a key lime pie?”

“If you tidy the kitchen first.” I respond.

And so, experience of one pie under her belt and new tool in the kitchen she attempts it again. This time the filling is smooth and creamy, the meringue is shiny and fluffy as we pile it high on top. The pie is baked and looks amazing. Her mother can hardly believe it. I can hardly believe it. At eleven she has just accomplished for the second time what many would never even attempt. We slice it open.

“Ok maybe we could have cooked the filling a little longer,” I say.
“I don’t like it.” says her little brother.
“I’ll eat yours.” says Rhiannon.
“The next one will be even better.” says Kaia.
“You’re amazing dude.” I say scooping meringue onto my fork. “Now go do your dishes.”

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