Hi everyone. I was chatting with a woman recently about whether or not cooking is a skill, an innate talent or a little of both. I believe, as with all endeavors, that when we enjoy a process or project, we are much more inclined to pursue it, which then makes us more skilled because we are practicing more. Not rocket science. I have encountered so many women who become discouraged, disenchanted or deflated when a recipe does not come out great the first time and it becomes a major setback, possibly resulting in a decline of cooking behaviors for weeks after the “traumatic event”. Why is it that if we write up a proposal at work that we don’t get right on the first try, we continue to write up more rough drafts until we have it convey what we want? Do we stop writing proposals and lose our job? No. Why is it that if we don’t like the way we look in a certain outfit, we mix and match other articles of clothing until we feel more comfortable? Do we go out naked? No. We work on it until it works for us and until we are happy with the results.
So, why do women feel that cooking is any different? Women have always been the cooks of the household throughout the history of humankind until the last few decades so it makes perfect sense that we have role conflicts if we are not cooking for ourselves, our friends and our families on a regular basis. Many women have not had cooking models and have not been taught so how could we all know exactly what to do in the kitchen?
Step #1 is that we must try as much as possible to free ourselves of any preconceived notions of what we expect from ourselves and tune out what is expected of us in the kitchen. Imagine your mind as a blank slate ready to absorb all the new and interesting, fun and creative aspects of cooking. Easier said than done! We need to look at our pasts and figure out what went wrong, where and when with regards to how we perceive cooking and all it entails. These issues go a lot deeper than we think. More on this at a later time!
In the meantime, I will leave you with an exercise and a very easy recipe for kids. Try to pinpoint or identify where you get discouraged , frustrated, resentful, etc. if at all in this cooking process and why. You may learn something about your own cooking struggles and where they begin in your unique experience of preparing a dish. When you pinpoint the spot where you begin to lose steam,whether it is shopping, looking at a recipe or frying, try to explore with yourself or with someone else why you, as an individual, have a hard time in your particular stage of the process.
The recipe is for Froggy Pancakes and they are great for getting kids to eat spinach, nuts, cheese and anything else you want to throw in there. They are green and you tell your kids the pancakes will make them jump if they eat them (get it? Froggy Pancakes make you jump?)
Make or buy multigrain pancake mix. Prepare according to the recipe on the box to make about 2 cups worth of the batter. Set batter aside in a bowl.
Take a handful of defrosted , chopped, frozen spinach and saute it in a TBS of olive oil. Add the spinach to the pancake batter and put in a blender until there are no chunks of spinach-you want the batter to turn green. Add a pinch of salt and stir.
Add a handful of grated cheese of your choice, some sunflower seeds or chopped nuts and fry up the pancakes in some olive oil in a non-stick pan with some olive oil or butter.
These are great for an on-the-go snack, breakfast, lunch or dinner. Dip them in ketchup or other sauce and feel good that you got your kid to have a vegetable, protein and grain all in one. These worked for my kids until they realized that they were eating spinach. It was great while it lasted! Good luck…