Sons join mom in the kitchen

August 13, 2003|EMILY TOADVINE

With four boys in the house Sandra Burton finds herself in the kitchen quite often. To allow more time for other activities she enjoys, she is instilling a love of cooking in her sons.

Burton and her two oldest sons, Tim, 16, and Eric, 15, who are sophomores at Danville High School, entered several food categories at the Boyle County Fair.

"They always see me do it, so they said, 'I want to do it,'" says Burton, who also is mother to 13-year-old Jeff and 9-year-old Travis.

They baked several batches of cookies, cinnamon rolls and fudge. Burton made mocha truffles, which are solid chocolate treats.

"They're amazingly easy as long as you know how to dip," says Burton. After rolling the mixture into a ball, she relies on a toothpick. She inserts a toothpick in the center and dips it in the melted chocolate.


The boys ordinarily would have competed at the 4-H level, but they missed the deadline. They still wanted to participate, but Burton warned them that they would be up against the pros.

"They decided to compete against mom. They were quite brave."

Burton says, much like her sons, she learned to cook because she was from a family with four children. Her oldest sister taught her.

"I wanted one of those Easy-Bake Ovens for Christmas, and my sister said, 'No, you need to cook in a real oven.'"

Burton's children must have inherited some of their mom's talent.

"Eric and I both had a coffee cake. I got the blue ribbon and he got the red," says Burton, who entered 18 food items and took home 15 ribbons.

Eric will be advancing to state fair level, but not in foods. He will send a nightstand he made.

Burton did not limit herself to food, either. She brought knitting, sewing and holiday crafts.

"I make lots of snowmen. If you come at Christmastime, they're everywhere," she says.

Scrapbooking was a new arena for Burton but she garnered a blue ribbon after writing about and arranging photos of an annual fishing trip the family participates in at Wolf Creek Dam. The boys love the children's contest, which is held the first weekend in June. Many prizes are awarded and they have even won bicycles.

When not preparing for fair competition, the boys like to keep their cooking simple.

"They're notorious in their Scout troop for ramen noodles. Their Scoutmaster thinks we live on them," Burton says of the boys' affiliation with Troop 119.

The boys have their preferred methods of preparing the cuisine.

"They're kind of getting picky about when you add the seasoning," she says, noting that lately they prefer to drain the water before adding the seasoning.

They often have occasions to cook as the troop goes camping once a month. Every year, they take a week-long trip. Their dad, Daniel Burton, is very active in troop activities. Sandra Burton says they like the skills taught, such as cooking.

"That's why we've got them in Scouts. They learn the things schools don't teach anymore," she says, noting the boys have learned how to shoot and carve.

Burton met her husband, a Parksville native, when he was in the Army. She is a Kansas native, but their oldest children were born while he was enlisted. Tim and Jeff were born in Texas and Eric was born in Germany. Travis was born after the family moved to Danville.

Mocha Truffles

Two 12-ounce packages of semi-sweet chocolate chips

8-ounce package of softened cream cheese

3 tablespoons instant coffee granules

2 teaspoons water

1 pound dark chocolate confectionary coating

White chocolate coating for decoration (optional)

In a microwave-safe bowl or double boiler, melt chocolate chips. Add cream cheese, coffee and water and mix well. Chill until firm enough to shape. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place on wax paper-lined cookie sheet. Chill two hours or until firm. Melt chocolate coating in microwave-safe bowl or double boiler. Dip balls and place on waxed paper to harden. If desired, melt white chocolate coating and drizzle over the truffles.

Yield: 5 1/2 dozen

Note: Truffles can be frozen for several months before dipping in chocolate. Thaw in refrigerator before dipping.

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