Friday, November 21, 2014

Shut 'em up with Chocolate Swirl Sweet Potato Pie: A guest post by FoodRetro

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Shut 'em up with Chocolate Swirl Sweet Potato Pie
by Anne of FoodRetro

No one ever tried to pretend raising a kid was easy, but I never imagined in my wildest dreams that it would be a one-way ticket to crazy town.

There’s a fun argument going on around the internet… whether or not you should encourage your small children to “help out” in the kitchen. I say “help out” in quotes because anybody who has ever actually tried to let a kid help out knows that they are no help.

At all.


Quite the opposite, actually.

They want to help. Really, ever so much, they want to be just like mommy and you KNOW you should take advantage of this hallucination for as long as it lasts (not long). So then you are stuck in the Moral Dilemma game.

Do I foster a kid’s interest in food at the expense of my sanity, or not?

On one hand, you know you are probably going to be peeling food off the ceiling. Most certainly there will be stuff on the walls, and every cupboard, even the ones above the stove. Heck, your kid can’t even eat without spraying food in a 3-foot-radius of his chair. Your kitchen may spontaneously kerplode entirely, leaving you with something that resembles this:

On the other hand, you will probably have a kid who grows up to be a deadbeat in the kitchen, and expect you to cook him stuff until he’s 37, or whatever age he gets married to another woman who can mom him, whichever comes first. Also, there’s that whole thing where they look so damned puppy-dog sad when you say no.

Then there’s also the problem that the tasks that they’d be perfect for--the ones without sharp knives, without the blender, without a gallon of sticky goo batter that have to be spooned into a target that’s smaller than the Grand Canyon—are the ones that they don’t want to do.

Washing potatoes? Nope. Helping you load the dishwasher? Booooooring. Putting stuff in the garbage? YEAH. IN YOUR DREAMS. It doesn’t matter if it’s something they can do that would actually be helpful. Asking a kid to do anything that they didn’t ask to do will smack of “chores” to them and may result in full-on mutiny--complete with huffing, grunting, and the stink-eye.

You know which one I mean.

So in the end, deciding whether or not to let a kid “help out” in the kitchen really comes down to a single question: How much wine do I currently have in the fridge?

If the answer is “not enough,” then you probably want to say no… creatively.

Tell them that helping would require lots of potato peeling and touching of gross stuff (this usually works to turn mine off). Also suggest that they help load the dishwasher before you start so you have lots of room to work. Most likely, this will send them fleeing in terror to their rooms to go organize their Legos instead.

If your kid is stubborn, and doesn’t scare off (or if he’s smart enough to smell that he’s being gotten rid of), relegate him to the lofty position of “taste tester” and drown out the puppy dog whining with a piece of this gooey, sweet and chocolatey, sweet potato pie.

Click photo for recipe

When not talking about herself in the third person, Anne frequently attempts to explain the laws of physics and high school chemistry according to the kitchen on her blog. If you want to know why ice melts or pretzels turn brown, and you want to make food that you never imagined could be made from scratch in the process, check out FoodRetro. 

Anne is also on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

*Title photo courtesy of
*Pie picture courtesy of

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