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Kitchen knives: Teaching culinary conduct to three kids

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With the front room finally tidy, I went to check on their progress. I walked in to find every drawer in the kitchen open as my daughters rummaged about, muttering, “I don’t know which one is a can opener. Is this a can opener?”

“No, I think it’s this thing,” the other one said, holding a corkscrew. “Or maybe it’s that thing there?” while pointing at a garlic press.  

Astonished, I interrupted. “What? Do you mean to tell me that neither one of you knows what a can opener looks like?”

I reached into the appropriate drawer. “This is a can opener!”

“Oh,” they said in unison.

“You’ve never used a can opener?” I demanded, only to be treated to shrugs and the onset of uncontrollable giggles.

“Oh, yeah. Go ahead and laugh.” 

I tried to impress them with the seriousness of the situation. “It won’t be so funny when The Big One comes and Daddy and I are squished under the entertainment center and you kids have to fend for yourselves. What will you do then? Huh? I’ll tell you what you’ll do. You’ll starve! I can see the story on the ten o’clock news now: ‘Local children starve to death in a kitchen surrounded by cans of food!’”

Now gasping for air, Chloe somehow managed to squeak out, “We won’t starve. We’ll just order a pizza.”

I ignored her. “This weekend, the two of you are going to learn about the kitchen, and we will have a special class in advanced knife work.”

Morning came and, after a half-hour of Show and Tell with the kitchen utensils and appliances, I presented my children with a stack of easy-to-cut French Toast.

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