Mom took piano lessons in order to help me learn piano. She learned so she knew what the notes were, understood the basic rhythms and could support me in the early stages of piano. And once she established me at the piano, and had the sense that I was on my way and understood what was going on, she moved on to Brother.
Once Brother began his violin lessons (with Mom taking up the violin as well), I was free to practice on my own. The way our piano room was set up was it was completely isolated from the rest of the house. I could close doors, lock myself in the living room, and no one could see what was going on inside, unless they opened the door.
By the time I was 11 years old, I was practicing on my own in that room. And some days, when I felt that practice was going to be exceptionally tedious and long, I would grab whatever book I was reading and bring it into my room and quietly shut the door. And I would practice, from muscle memory, as my eyes and my mind were elsewhere. My fingers would play songs over and over as I devoured whatever book it was that I was reading.
Needless to say, this did not improve my piano playing. And I remember this, because it makes me pause and think about how I want to make sure Daughters #1 and #2 practice. Don't get me wrong - I'm not about having them practice for several hours on end, like they are preparing for some master competition - they're only 6 and 8. But I do expect them to practice mindfully, even if they only practice for 20 or 30 minutes at a time. (But yes, sometimes they practice twice a day.)
When they go into their practice, which incidentally is in a totally open space with no doors to close and right next to the kitchen, I make sure they walk in with nothing in their hands. I make sure they're seated at the bench, correct positions, hands at the ready and thoughtful in their practice. They get to get away with a lot less because I know what I did when I was little. My little shortcuts and shortcomings of my childhood are not tolerated and not allowed in them.
That's the curse of having a mom with a good memory of her own mischief in childhood.
But don't feel badly for Daughters (or Son) because also on top of this, they are continually bombarded with new dishes, new flavors, and new ideas in the kitchen. They aren't allowed to get comfortable with their old dishes, because I'm constantly giving them new ones. I'd like to think that they've tasted more new things that average children their age, so I'm assuming that in this way, they'll be stronger.
They responded well to these chicken wings, with the hints of lemongrass and lime. Daughter #2, who is a certified wing fanatic, really loved the flavors and made a point of eating 5 wings, on her own. Son is now eating vegetarian (don't know why) and I couldn't cajole or trick him into eating a single bite, but Daughter #1 also took down a few herself. They are not spicy, have a subtle perfume of curry and other flavors, but everything blends together so it isn't one flavor that hits you all at once.
Don't let the long list of ingredients stop you from making this - it's simply mixing it all together in a bowl, and marinating the chicken, removing chicken from marinade and cooking them in the oven until they are brown and caramelized.
Honey Lime Lemongrass Chicken Wings
Serves 4 to 6
2 ½ lbs chicken wings and/or drummettes, skin on
3 tablespoons minced lemongrass
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons minced ginger
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons sake
2 tablespoons curry powder
In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients EXCEPT wings. Once marinade is fully mixed, add wings, ensuring that each wing gets a nice covering of the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
Preheat oven to 400. Line a roasting pan with foil (easier clean up). Lift chicken from marinade and place on roasting pan. Roast wings on one side, until wings are golden, about 20 minutes. Turn wings over, and cook on the other side for an additional 20 minutes.
Serve with lots of napkins.