If the second Sunday in May had a morning soundtrack, it would probably be the sound of a thousand eggs cracking, followed by the sizzle of bacon and the pitter-patter of little feet as they race to deliver their proudly made breakfast to moms everywhere.
Considering my baby is just 10 months old, I’ll be content with a snuggle and perhaps a morning out, but for Melissa Clauson, fried chicken awaits.
“My mom’s favorite food is fried chicken,” says 11-year-old Max. That, and potentially some fried asparagus or a salad are a part of his menu for this upcoming Mother’s Day brunch.
“And maple pie, because she loves making that on Thanksgiving,” his sister Gracie, 13, adds.
Max and Gracie — along with their 15-year-old sister, Dylan — aren’t your average egg crackers “helping” dad in the kitchen. Max’s favorite thing to make is spaghetti from scratch. Gracie’s a baker who loves to make macarons.
“Max, you make a cheese sauce that’s killer,” Gracie says when talking about their afterschool snack routine.
Unlike when I was a kid, Max’s cheese sauce isn’t melted Velveeta; instead, he quickly talks me through the steps: first melting a tablespoon of butter and mixing in two tablespoons of flour to make a roux, before whisking in milk, then slowly adding cheese.
“He makes an amazing cheese sauce,” affirms their mom, Melissa.
PHOTO: JOSHUA HUSTON
“I was at first scared, because there’s all these videos of people on the internet burning themselves, but [Deb] taught us how to use knives and how not to burn ourselves with oil,” Max says.The kids first learned of their love of cooking after attending Deb Brownstein’s Kitchen Coach Cooking School at Mangia Bene in North Seattle. Although they had both spent time in the kitchen with their dad, Tom, before attending the kid-focused camp, it was there they both discovered a love for cooking.
“After the camp it was like, oh, a whole new world,” Gracie says with a smile.
They both try to cook or bake as often as they can, barring homework and other school commitments. And although Gracie has attended the camps at Mangia Bene for three years, Max for two, this is the first time they’ve cooked mom a special meal for Mother’s Day.
They both feel confident writing a menu and executing the entire plan. Max says he’s well-versed on how to make the chicken and keep it crispy, while Gracie adds they might also make some macarons with her special ganache filling.
“Ever since I was 4 I’ve wanted to make Mother’s Day special, and now I can,” Max says.
Gracie adds, “I am excited to cook my mom a meal for Mother’s Day because she is my role model and one of the strongest women I know. She cooks meals for me, so why not give her a day off?”
“I’ve been waiting for this my entire life,” Melissa says with a laugh.
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