Growing Tables is coming to you today from Vita Cucina, our local bakery and cafe. Vita, as it is lovingly called, serves breakfast and lunch Tuesday through Friday, and pizza (plus) for dinner on Thursday and Friday evenings. They buy local for their menu whenever they can, and do most of their cooking from scratch: they smoke their own meats, make the bread for their outstanding sandwiches, and occasionally even bake their own pita bread to order! We at Growing Tables are very fond of Vita Cucina and their proximity to our office.
But today, I'm not here to eat. I'm here to watch my seven-year-old-tomorrow daughter apprentice herself to Vita's primary baker. Part of her birthday present is getting to help make the cupcakes she'll take to school tomorrow. She has been obsessed with cupcakes for a few months now, choosing cookbooks from the library, buying a couple to keep, and watching cooking shows, especially Cupcake Wars.
While I might prefer that she was reading vegetable cookbooks or soup cookbooks or any other "growing food" cookbooks, I'll take what I can get. Learning to cook at an early age will help her navigate life later on. She'll learn math, proportions, science, and art. She'll understand better where her food comes from. She'll learn respect for ingredients and flavors.
In a bigger community, there might be classes she could take about making cakes and cupcakes. She could take Wilson classes at a craft store. And that would be fine. But here, she is able to come into a space she knows well and work with someone she considers a friend to create her special cupcakes. Last week, she came in and consulted with Vita about what kind of cupcakes she wanted to make. So far today, she's helped make the cupcakes and the buttercream, and she's about to help fill them with mousse.
So this afternoon, I'm a contented mom sitting at a table watching through the shelves as she measures and mixes, learning a craft from a master.