It’s a meal that I haven’t made in over a decade, and I can’t even say I had plans to anytime in the near future either. But then it so happened that daughter read—and inquired—about it while reading one of her books.
“Mom, what is chicken and dumplings?”
“Well, it’s a chicken dinner that’s cooked in a large pot—a thick stew of chicken and veggies and the dumplings are simmered on top.”
“Yeah, but what are dumplings?”
“Hmmm—well, I think of them as a biscuit that’s cooked directly on top of stew—the steam and the simmering broth or gravy helps to cook them instead of the hot, dry heat of an oven.”
“Mmmm, chicken and dumplings sounds really good. Thanks, Mom.”
And she went back to her book. Yet it wasn’t over for me: Yes, you can probably just picture the wheels a-turnin’ in my head after this conversation.
I’m thinking: She really seems interested in those chicken and dumplings … I have no idea what we’re going to have for dinner tonight … wonder if we have the ingredients to try making them for dinner … but do I really feel up to it? … better check the freezer. Yes, we do have chicken breasts and whole legs and veggies and flour … best to take advantage of this while she’s interested … I think I’ll offer this up to daughter.
“How would you like to make chicken and dumplings for dinner tonight?”
“Oh, could we?! Oh yes—that would be great! Thank you, Mommy!”
And from that point on, it just so happened that daughter was the self-proclaimed volunteer helper for this chicken and dumplings dinner. All I had to do was defrost the chicken and find a recipe. A couple of recipes later and we were set—of course, we had to make some adaptations too (our final recipe is below).
All was a go: We made a plan to reconvene in the kitchen at 4PM to begin the chicken and prep the veggies.
And the enthusiasm didn’t wane several hours later. Daughter was hungry for chicken and dumplings and more than willing to help put them on our table that night. From browning the chicken in olive oil to chopping the green beans to measuring the water and adding the seasoning, it was daughter’s hand that had the final say in this one pot meal. I was the advisor, the assistant, the one that merely watches the main activity. A much needed job, but one that is obviously on limited time. For I bet it won’t be long until she’s the one in the kitchen whipping up one-pot meals.
Needless to say, our pot of chicken and dumplings was deliciously satisfying. And now daughter knows what a dumpling is, how a dumpling is cooked with moist heat, and how to make a dumpling. There’s nothing like hands-on experiences for the best learning. If such small momentary daily happenings have the ability to satisfy in such large ways, you can count on me making dinner on the recommendation of daughter’s books more often. This could get to be a good thing indeed.
Next week: Eggrolls for Breakfast?
show the recipe ->