2 May 2018, by Joel Chng
Two years ago when my son Ezra started to crawl, he often ventured into the kitchen – both at home and at his grandparents’ house.
Soon he became stronger and would open cupboards and drawers to access cooking utensils.
Back then, his favourite thing to do was to make ‘music’ by clanging spatulas and wooden spoons on various surfaces at home.
As Ezra got older, he enjoyed using pretend knives and cutting boards to slice wooden fruits and vegetables during imaginative play.
His fine motor skills were further honed as he matched food pieces back together, and the separate parts connected (via velcro and magnet) to make a whole.
Watching Ezra mimic his caregivers’ food preparation made me realise that I should use such opportunities to educate my son on healthy eating, and to be a positive influence on his personal development.
For Ezra’s second birthday last September, I bought him a play kitchen.
Ezra was thrilled to have his own sink, oven, freezer, refrigerator and microwave (with doors that open and close, knobs that click and turn, and storage space for all his toy food).
Two months ago, I was one of two parent-volunteers for Ezra’s cookery class lesson, where the children were taught how to make cupcakes.
It was a proud daddy moment, seeing my little boy so grown up and so enthusiastic about baking.
Then it hit me: How cool is it that my 2.5 year old and I have common interests? (I love to cook!)
So I decided on pizza-making one Saturday morning (I usually set aside time on Saturdays for father-and-son bonding activities). I had pre-purchased pizza dough ingredients from Phoon Huat and pizza toppings from the supermarket.
What a privilege it was, seeing the joy on my son’s face as he learnt how to make a pizza.
I believe in the saying that the environment dictates the learning.
When it came to ‘decorating’ the pizza, I allowed Ezra to take the lead and be creative – he was the one who decided how much of each topping to use (I prepared pineapple chunks, picnic ham and white mushrooms) and where to place them.
My role was to connect with him and to give him my fullest attention.
What a privilege to spend time with Ezra in the kitchen, doing something that we both enjoy!
Here is the recipe – you can try it too:
– 500g bread flour
– 5g salt
– 10g fresh yeast
– 325ml lukewarm water
– Pizza sauce
– Grated parmesan cheese
– Extra virgin olive oil
– Semolina (optional)
- Step 1: Dissolve the yeast in lukewarm water.
- Step 2: Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Gradually add the yeast mixture, mixing well until you obtain a dough.
- Step 3: Place dough on a lightly-floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes.
- Step 4: Cover with a cloth or cling film, then leave it to rest in a warm place until the dough doubles in size.
- Step 5: Preheat the oven to 220 degrees.
- Step 6: Knead the dough and divide into four pieces, then cover it with a cloth and leave it to rest in a warm place for a further 30 minutes.
- Step 7: Sprinkle flour onto a clean work surface and spread the dough into a thin round shape.
- Step 8: Drizzle extra virgin olive oil before spreading tomato paste evenly, then sprinkle grated parmesan and arrange toppings as desired.
- Step 9: Sprinkle Semolina or flour onto a pizza stone or flat baking tray.
- Step 10: Transfer pizza onto the pizza stone and bake for 8 – 10 minutes.