The Role of Brownies

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July! What rituals do you have or do you do something different every year? Did you do something different this year?

Comfort and Joy are still young but we have some traditions that are becoming entrenched in our family. For many it's the fireworks. We're lucky that we live within walking distance of the city's firework display so we leave the house when it gets dark, having put the girls into their pjs, find a spot and have a snack on our blanket while we wait.

Last week my mom sent an email to my brother and I to remind us to make our brownies for the day. Yep, brownies are a 4th of July ritual in my family. Growing up we had a full day on  each July 4th - from parades to be marched to brownies to be baked to family to be rounded up for fireworks. The brownies were our snack as we sat and waited for it to get dark enough for the fireworks to begin, just like they are at our house now.

But why brownies? My guess is that it's because it was something that my brother and I could make together and it didn't take very long to bake. Oh, and it's chocolate. Yum! My brother and I were always in the kitchen when my mom cooked and we were expected to help and being tall ourselves it wasn't long before we could do a lot to help.

Brownies are wonderfully collaborative. There's a little bit of measuring, some stirring, pouring, and then there's the best part - licking the bowl. Comfort and Joy have started helping me with the stirring. Growing up my brother and I got to where we could do it all by ourselves. I think having some activity in the kitchen that your kids can learn to do by themselves is wonderful. As they grow kids can learn to do more and more by themselves, under supervision.

The funny part is that our 4th of July brownies have to be from a box. I know I've blogged about Ina Garten's Outrageous Brownies recipe. It is fabulously rich and well, I'm drooling as I type. However, it's box brownies that bring me back to my childhood and for this day I stick with what the nostalgia.

This is the role of brownies, or whatever the equivalent is in your family. It a traditon on a holiday for sure, but it's also an opportunity for our kids to find a way to be part of the collaborative process of cooking and baking. It's a way for them to learn measuring - which is a great form of math. It's a way for them to learn how to follow instructions. It's a way for them to learn independence and self-worth and isn't definitely a Cool Idea!


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