Give a boy a cheeseburger and he'll get a Happy Meal toy, teach him how to cook one and you'll get a blog post

"Dad, can I skip the workbook tonight?"

The kid knows how to work this "mom's not here for the week" thing really well. And I know what you're thinking. You're thinking given the fact that in the past two weeks Fury and I have adopted a huge disgusting bug as a pet, broken all posted boating speed limits, hung out at Hooters, and peed into tupperware, that I would surely let him get away with an infraction as minor as skipping a few summer-brush-up math problems and writing exercises, right?


Well, kinda. Or not technically. Come on, Home Ec totally counted as a class in school, right? At least as important as reading, writing and arithmetic, I would argue. Why am I even trying to justify this? He's my kid and this is my blog.

We totally skipped the workbook.

But in its place, I told him this: "Fury, I will let you skip the workbook stuff tonight, but you know what I want you to do instead? You are going to cook your own dinner. What do you want to eat?"

"I want a cheeseburger. Do I get a toy?"

"No, but you will have more fun than any Happy Meal toy could provide" (Low bars, I set 'em).

So off to the supermarket we went to pick up a pound and a half of ground beef.

"What do you want in your cheeseburger?"

"I want sauteed mushrooms."

And my foodie side shed a little tear of joy. We got some mushrooms.

"And I don't want a regular bun. I want it on a croissant."

Done. You rock, son.

And thus began Fury's first solo dinner.

LESSON 1: Look the part

Speak softly and carry a big cleaver. A step stool and Dad's chef jacket doesn't hurt either (I'm not a real chef, but I like to play chef games at home).

LESSON 2: Open a beer first

For your teacher, of course. But oh alright, you can lick the bottlecap. You said please.

LESSON 3: Get your hands dirty

Food is love. You're not doing it right if you don't make a mess.

LESSON 4: Out of chaos, comes art

We don't need no stinkin' patty press. Like snowflakes, each patty tells a story. And can be rolled into a ball and hucked.

LESSON 5: Butter

Is your friend.

LESSON 6: Butter browns quickly

I know you love pistachios, but if a snack is going to take you away from melting butter for more than 2 minutes, let's hold off. Or not. It's pistachios, dammit.

LESSON 7: Pose for every pic like it was going to be the inside cover shot of your first cookbook

You're a natural. Pass.

LESSON 8: It's all in the wrist

I know "getting air" is the point of pretty much everything you do, so this is just something I'll just need to work with you on a little bit. But I'll admit, that patty did a pretty good back-flip 360, flying hot grease globules notwithstanding.

LESSON 9: The Waft

Never stick your nose directly above what you're cooking. You need to waft the aroma into your nose. And adopting a Franch ac-scont while you're at it makes it smell better.

LESSON 10: It's the cheese, it's gotta be the cheese

Like butter, if you have a single cooking gene in your body, this instinctual tidbit comes standard.

LESSON 11: Use the right tools

If a Padawan is allowed to use a real lightsaber while training to be a Jedi, my 7-yr-old can use a knife with a sharp blade to cut stuff. He's lucky I didn't make him wear the blast shield helmet.

LESSON 12: Presentation is key

You look maaavelous.

Absolutely maaaavelous.

LESSON 13: If YOU can't enjoy it, then there's no point

While most people prefer their gourmet cheeseburgers hot off the grill, it doesn't mean that you have to agree. If you like yours quick frozen for a few minutes to make it easier on the tongue, no one has the right to stop you.

LESSON 14: Celebrate a job well done

Proud. Proud. Proud. My little Iron Chef.

Also cool? Today is my 2nd blogiversary. I can't believe I've been at it for 2 years. It's been fun. Thank you all for encouraging this madness and laughing with me. Or at me. Whatever. As long as you're laughing.