Hi everyone. Please click on the title of this post to read more. This is a longish post but I think you’re going to like it (as well as the fabulous photo of Jon Hamm you will see that my friend Leslie sent me….). Today, I’d like to touch on the subject of modeling. Not the Cheryl Tiegs modeling (am I dating myself?) but the modeling that demonstrates a behavior that others may learn from. Please allow my gym class to serve as an example…
I take a hip hop class periodically at my gym and I am always struck by the array of women in the class; There is a motley crew of ladies ranging from mothers in their forties to twenty- something au pairs, plump women in their sixties and an even wider range of hip hop dancing ability. All of these women have one thing in common, however; they are all (except for those darn, hot, twenty year old au pairs with the belly shirts and flat stomachs) turning up their noses at the stereotypes of who should be taking these stereotypically hip, youthful dance classes. I applaud them (and myself -I’m the one whose dancing could serve as a contraceptive ) for strutting their stuff and saying (not literally), “Who are you to say that I can’t take this on at my age, weight, gender, ethnicity, etc????” These women make me feel like I can go in there and do this class, no matter how old I am, bad I dance, or seemingly incapable of catching on to the routines I am.
Because all thoughts lead back to cooking, I can’t help but extend my view on this topic to the wide range of women I work with .One of the reasons so many of my clients want to overcome their obstacles to cooking is because they want their children to be exposed to “cooking behaviors” so that they will be able to give the gift of cooking confidence to their children. They want their kids to be exposed to a wide variety of healthy ingredients and to show them that homemade meals take some time and are a priority.
Many of us grew up in environments where the meals seemed to appear magically because we were not allowed in the kitchen, not a part of the cooking process, or our families simply did not prepare meals. Maybe there was frozen , ready made foods, a proliferation of take-out, or simply no or little focus on food. Maybe there were eating disorders in the house and the joy of food, or its abuse, lead our families to inadvertently shine a negative light on food and its preparation.
For some people, this could have lead to a great desire to cook great meals, to not have a home or kitchen life as they had experienced growing up. For others, however, there may be little or no understanding of cooking, or feelings of competency in the kitchen since there was little or no exposure to cooking behaviors. A recipe for disaster! It may feel unnatural, stressful or intimidating if these cooking behaviors were not a part of our daily life.
Like the hip-hop ladies with their wonderful modeling of perseverence and investment of time and energy in an art form that is not “supposed” to be theirs , lets show our kids and our friends and families that we can learn to handle that kitchen to keep us happy and healthy. It doesn’t matter that we may have been unsuccessful in the past, frustrated or uncomfortable. We can all work through our individual challenges to be whomever we want to be in the gym or in our kitchens and have fun doing it. There, I said it!
Now it is time for you all to model me! I LOVE carrot-ginger salad dressing from Japanese restaurants, especially from DOJO in NY. I learned how to make it. Why did I do this? Because I can’t always get it and want to be able to eat it when I want to. How did I do it? I persevered, experimenting with many unsuccessful attempts for years and learned how to make a dressing as close to the original as I could. I looked on line for similar dressings, took away some things they suggested and added a few of my own. Model me and try to make something from your favorite restaurant so you can be self reliant in the kitchen. You can do it! ENJOY!
2 Small, peeled carrots
4 TBS Mirin (can get at Whole Foods or ANY Asian market-it is a sweet rice vinegar)
4 TBS regular Japanese rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
2 TBS soy sauce
2 TBS fresh, grated ginger
1/2 lb silken tofu (this is the VERY soft kind-at most supermarkets)
1/2 inch slice of a small red onion
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 small clove of garlic
pinch of salt
canola oil (optional)
Puree all ingredients in a Food processor until smooth. Can add a little canola oil to “cream it up” a bit but not necessary. The tofu does that pretty well. Serve over rice , tofu and your favorite vegetables.