There aren’t a lot of elementary school projects I look back on fondly. The year we had a class rabbit, which I took home with me for a weekend? All I got was a mess to clean in the basement one night and a strange cedar-chip smell in our classroom year-round. Making a scaled-down solar system? That wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t something I’d like to do again, either. Then there was the annual Great American Day where I’d go in dressed as Mary Todd Lincoln, basically every year, wearing the same brown polyester dress and bonnet. I can’t remember where we bought that costume, but boy, it saw a lot of Halloweens.
One project that stands out in particular memory was something you’d think I’d have loved, especially with the alternatives: a class cookbook, with one recipe coming from each child, being printed up and made into copies for each of us to keep.
Looking back, I don’t know why I didn’t ask my mom for help with that cookbook—in fact, judging from the barbeque chickens and vegetable casseroles that filled the completed copy, I think I was the only one who didn’t. But, I swear, in my little six-year-old mind, I thought the teacher said we had to come up with it on our own.
I was very diligent about rule-following back then; I still remember the guilt I’d felt after saying I read an entire book for BookIt!, when I’d actually skipped two pages. [A certain person I know recently admitted to lying his way through every one of those monthly reading competitions, all in the name of free personal-pan pizzas, and this made part of me felt a lot better. The other part thought I should write a confession letter tomorrow. ] So I don’t need to tell you that if I thought I had to do it myself, I was going to do it myself.
I knew I couldn’t make cookies unless someone was there helping me and I hadn’t the faintest idea of how to make any main entrée or a meal. So, wracking my brain for something—anything—I wrote down the only recipe I really knew I could make, the thing I’d bring you, as a six-year-old, if I were treating you to a meal at my house: cereal.
The short ingredients list of milk, cereal, bowl and spoon was followed by an equally short set of directions, something to the effect of: Pour cereal into bowl and add milk, then use spoon to eat. It’s a little embarrassing now that I think about it.
It’s especially embarrassing when I think of how many easy, easy recipes are out there, recipes simple enough for a child to remember them, although maybe not always safe enough for a child do (as in, knives or ovens required).
I could’ve explained how to make a hot fudge sundae, right? Ice cream, toppings, what more do you need? Or maybe a fruit salad? Just cut up fruits and throw them in a bowl, maybe mixing them around with yogurt, if you’d like?
Or, if I had been just a little precocious, I could’ve explained how to make apple chips.
When I first saw this recipe, I almost didn’t believe something so easy could really taste good. But Kelly at Eat Make Read called them, well, I think, addictive was her word, and, in my experience, foods that are addictive are foods I like most.
You only need two ingredients: apples and powdered sugar. Couldn’t be simpler, right? And as far as directions, it’s about as basic as pouring cereal into a bowl: slice apples as thinly as possible. Cover two cookie sheets with powdered sugar and top with layer of apples then another layer of powdered sugar. Bake at 250 degrees for two hours, alternating the sheets halfway through.
If you’d like to see the original recipe, head over here (and while you’re there, look around: Kelly’s got a beautiful food blog with great design and quality recipes).
But, I promise, I’m not oversimplifying. This is as easy as it gets, and the chips, well, they really are addictive. Plus, despite the sugar, you’ll feel like you’re healthy for eating them since, you know, they’re just apples.