Get your children involved in baking some meteoric comfort food - rock cakes - when you start explaining shooting stars.
This past week the Earth was visited by a few space rocks. One, an asteroid the size of a cruise ship, passed by our planet. Others, like the meteor that flew over Russia, roared through the atmosphere and disintegrated in a fireball. The news reports and videos were all rather exciting, were they not? It was undoubtedly a wonderful time to pass on some knowledge of the universe and how it works to your children. And what better way to teach than to discuss it over food?
Instead of listening to all the fearmongerers and apocalypse-prognosticators, especially if you've got children about, the moment could have been used for a little fun. and it still can, because 10,000 tons of space rocks and debris falls to the Earth daily -- almost all of it incinerated upon entering the Earth's atmosphere -- so it's not as if it hasn't happened before and won't happen again. About two the size of large mailboxes burn through the skies on average each day. Shooting stars can be seen almost nightly (and by the dozens when Earth passes through debris fields that produce meteor showers). So be prepared to alleviate the kids' fears and worries (if they have any) or, even better, accentuate their sense of wonder with something to occupy their time and their bellies while you explain the mechanics of the Solar System. Try a group effort of baking some Meteor Shower Rock Cakes.
That's right: Meteor Shower Rock Cakes. It's a recipe conjured by Ella Walsh for kidspot.com, a spin on the traditional rock cakes recipe. And when children have questions about meteors and fireballs crashing to the Earth, what better way for you to mollify them than with a little reason, a little assurance, and a little snack? They can confront their anxieties -- if they even have them -- head on and eat them, so to speak. It's more difficult to fear that which you can consume and that which makes you stronger.
Besides, making and eating meteors can be fun.
So with the knowledge that thousands of tiny meteors streak Earthward daily -- most never seen due to their relative smallness or the fact that they burn up over Earth's oceans, which cover two-thirds of the planet's surface -- and nothing undue occurs with their bombardment, gather the kids and make some rock cakes. And when one discerning mind asks about the asteroids and the big meteors that explode with the force of atomic blasts, you can tell them that those occur on average about once every 764 years or so.
And since there's such a long time to wait, you're bound to get hungry. Might as well make and eat some Meteor Shower Rock Cakes.
Meteor Shower Rock Cakes Recipe
250g Self-Rising Flour
90g Butter -- room temperature
90g Brown Sugar
½ tsp Mixed Spice
Pinch of Salt
125g Colored Candy Sprinkles (these replace raisins in the traditional rock cakes recipe)
Preheat oven to 180°C. Mix butter and flour by rubbing butter into flour until mixture is crumbly (with a consistency of breadcrumbs). Add sugar, mixed spice, and salt and mix by hand. In a separate container, beat egg, then add to mixture. Then add candy sprinkles, keeping at least a tablespoon to the side. Mix thoroughly.
Mold dough into golf-ball-sized spheres. Place newly formed lumpy "meteors" on baking tray or trays (recipe makes about 12 rock cakes in all), ensuring you leave space for them to flatten and spread.
Take extra sprinkles and shower the dough balls.
Place in the oven for 15 minutes, then remove and allow to cool.
Note: This is a great "project" recipe for children, allowing them to use their hands. Just make sure you get them to wash those hands before mixing the dough, though. You don't want any real Earth dirt mixing with the Meteor Showers Rock Cakes!
(photo credit: Evan-Amos, Creative Commons)
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