I make a blond roux with butter, add enough whole milk to make a thin sauce, which I season with salt and white pepper. I then parboil waxy potatoes, peel and slice thinly, layer them in a glass or porcelain baking dish, spooning the sauce between the layers. This is baked in a medium-high oven (350 or so) until the potatoes are tender through and the top somewhat browned.
Teaching kids how to cook is a multi-faceted experience; simply doing something together gives everyone a chance to talk about what’s going on.
Learning how to cook also helps make kids curious about foods in general, bearing potential to expand the palate of a picky child. It’s also a confidence-booster, as anyone who has pulled a beautifully-baked cake out of the oven can attest. Reading and interpreting a recipe trains reading comprehension and math skills, and it’s also the best introduction to chemistry and botany in the home.
Here’s how to make oven fries. Take a large baking potato and cut it into thick wedges or strips. Brush with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, place on an oiled pan, and bake in a very hot oven. Stir once or twice to brown evenly.
There you go. So simple even a kid can do it.
Method is the most important part of any recipe, even how to boil an egg, for which there is no good way: in-shell eggs must be steamed to cook. My method for baking potatoes results in crisp, toothsome skin and a molten, crumbly center.
Any given potato must be washed and scrubbed, then dried thoroughly before coating with salted oil and placing in the oven, which must be very hot. A large (10-12 oz.) white potato will take an hour in a 400F oven. Potatoes can be pierced and microwaved to start, but should be finished in the oven; likewise, waxy potatoes should be parboiled. Wrapping them in foil before baking ensures a steamed potato, which is wonderful and nostalgic, but lesser fare than baked.