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Out of the Mouths of Babes


Working with kids, I get to hear the best things, and even more so when kids are baking. I think while people bake, they relax. Words just flow out. Thoughts are less censored.


Recently, I made zucchini bread with a class. We were adding dark ingredients into the bow. It was getting green and thick. One of the students said, "this looks like Shlip, Shlop, Shlap." We added in brown sugar and the comment changed to, "Now it looks like Shlip, Shlop, Shlap, Barf." Out of context, this might seem disrespectful, but really, it was spot-on. I don't know what Shlip, Shlop, Shlap is. I imagine that it would look exactly like what was in our bowl. Somehow, she made up words to describe the unseemly mixture we were creating. I laughed. Maybe I shouldn't have laughed, but I thought she was really clever.


Sometimes I find myself flailing for descriptive cooking words. I'll say things like, "it should be liquidy" or "don't be surprised if the batter is gloppy." It's funny to read statements like those, but they're pretty similar to Shlip, Shlop, Shlap. Of course liquidy and gloppy get flagged by spell check. They aren't real words, but they are great descriptors. To be honest, there aren't a whole lot of descriptive words used in baking, especially that are kid friendly. I've seen some tv personalities take a bite of something and use a word like "unctuous" to describe it. I'd rather have the folks on tv make up a word, like the kids.


In a recent cupcake class, I thought the kids would spread frosting on top of their cupcakes with a knife, nothing fancy. One of the students asked what tool he would need to "pipe" the frosting onto the cupcake. The question was asked by an 11-year-old boy. I had to remind myself that kids watch a lot of cooking shows. They are exposed to all sorts of baking terminology, but am still taken aback when I hear advanced baking terminology. I certainly didn't know about piping at eleven!


Another student said the word, "perfect" while working. To me, it seemed she was using the term after completing a task that was new to her. I loved that the word she used was perfect. I'm guessing that if she was trying something new, it may not have been exactly perfect, more like reasonable or good enough. I don't think she was aiming for perfect, it was just a word she used to say she was confident in her effort. We should all take a lesson and use the word "perfect" in describing our efforts when doing something new.


I leave you with the words kids have used that have made me smile...Shlip, Shlop, Shlap, Piping, and Perfect. To me, they are just that, PERFECT.



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