Saturday, June 21, 2008

Teach a Man to Fish

So many times I'm asked why I don't cook for other people by providing lunches or meals.....that sort of thing. I guess I'm asked that question because prehaps it looks like preparing and cooking good, healthy, fresh foods is easy for me and I obviously love to do it! But there's so many reasons why I'm smart enough to know that it just doesn't work, and not just from a financial standpoint, it just doesn't pay enough for the work involved, so what are some other reasons?

First of all, I have the highest respect for food professionals, and I can't compare myself to those who are truly trained, talented and sacrifice working so long and hard to do work that most people should be doing for themselves and their families. The food business has got to be one of the hardest businesses to succeed at. Long hours, labor intensive, little pay, especially in the beginning, and not alot of respect until recent interest in gourmet cooking.

(The picture above was taken in Feb. 2008, at Jill's house, during a cooking class I organized when Fawn was visiting and staying with me for the Feb. Cert in San Jose.)

But this is why I believe teaching someone how to prepare and cook is so much more important than doing it for them.

One of my KB clients was thinking about scheduling a 4:00pm workout, but would be coming straight from a business trip and wouldn't have time to get a meal ready to eat after the workout(a healthy meal!), so I offered to bring her dinner that day if she did her workout! I brought her a my Curry Cabbage Salad with Chicken, because I haven't met one person that didn't like it, and in fact she loved it! She was surprised because she didn't think she liked raw cabbage that much, she told me that she could tell the salad was fresh because the cabbage didn't taste old and bitter (I had never heard that before , but that was her experience). She also told me that she wanted the recipe and would have her nanny/housekeeper make it for her!

I told her that she had to do it herself! Why? Because doing it yourself gives you more than just knowing the ingredients. Working with food gives you an understanding of it. You learn technique, order, flavor, that also helps a great deal when ordering out.....I'm usually the one at the table explaining the menu......what and how foods are prepared. But most importantly, by practicing yourself, you learn ease about food and cooking. Ease is what comes with practice. Ease is the place you need to get to, and once you're there, you will prefer to make your own food.....truly! And since you have to eat for the rest of your life, don't you think you should learn how to feed yourself?

Over the past few years, I've held the hand of many a friend in the kitchen. I've literally, shopped, chopped, and cooked alongside them, in their own kitchens to demonstrate how it can become easy and rewarding to eat at fact better than eating out. Last year when I was at my friend Jills house teaching her and another friend some of my recipes and techniques, I told Jill that I wouldn't care if I ever at out, in fact I would prefer to never eat out, she was blown away by that statement and couldn't believe it....until now! She told me herself that she can't even eat at places like Chevy's, Applebee's, certainly not Taco Bell or Mc Donald's anymore because she knows that food is crap! And besides her food tastes better! Gee......I wonder where I've heard that before.....?

Everytime I look over at my friend Jamie eating her lunch at work that she made herself I know I helped her do that! When I see co-workers with their 'apple' for a snack instead of chips or a burrito from theTaqueria next door, I know I helped set an example. When my friend Jen writes on her blog that she's been 'rockin' the pressure cooker', I know I showed her how. Everytime my friend Cathy makes meatloaf for her family, and cooks a homemade dinner for her husband and kids I know I supported and encouraged her. And when I get comments on my blog about someone being inspired to try something new, it inspires me to keep teaching, preaching, and showing, by my own example. But when Jill told me that she prefers to eat her own food, instead of eating out, that was the ultimate!

Doing for someone is not the same as teaching them to do for themselves. As I share my knowledge, my knowledge grows. Knowledge is power and practicing your knowledge empowering. That's why I will always "teach a man to fish".

My life is so stinkin' good, and such a miracle....truly.


leslie said...

As a grateful participant in the Feb 2008 cooking class, I can tell you I've thought a LOT about your statement that you NEVER have to eat someone else's food if you don't want to. When you said that, I tried to stay open minded, but I remember thinking "Given a choice, I will always opt for food that someone else has prepared." And I didn't like the chasm between your views and my views.

Since then I'm definitely coming closer to your way of thinking. There's just something way more nourishing about food you've prepared yourself. Certainly you have control over the ingredients, but there's something about the energy in preparation that makes it better -- ok, gettin a little too out there even for myself, but I think you know what I mean.

Thank you, again, for your willingness to share all that you know -- truly, your life and efforts touch many, and as one who continues to benefit, I am extremely appreciative of all you do!

Mary said...
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Amy said...

It's funny because my hubby and I comment all the time about how we would rather eat at home now than go out. We used to eat out for entertainment. Now we cook for entertainment.

It truly is more satisfying to eat the fruits of your own labors than those of someone else.

Deb said...

This post prompted me to write and say thanks. Somehow, over the years, I had come to want food to be "fast" and "easy" - even above qualities like "nutritious" and "enjoyable". I have come a long way in the past year, and I sometimes I think back with a bit of shock of what I used to eat in a typical day. Your blogs (and especially when you showed pictures of your "all day lunch") have been a key piece of the change for me. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

jenny said...

I am yet another grateful reader of your blog and am considering purchasing my own pressure cooker in the very near future just because of the cool things I have been reading about here. I love your honesty and your approach to the whole wild world of food. Keep on keeping on girl - and thank you!

Tracy said...


Cooking is so much more than the're right, there's an energy, and once you tap that energy it becomes second nature.

Tracy said...


Mark used to practically beg me to go out to eat, just for the experience, more than anything. But these last few years after "wasting" money on supposedly good resturants, he would always can make this, and make it better, and then get the bill for $100 bucks!

He agrees, there are very few good places to eat, at least very few worth the fancy does food need to be?

Tracy said...


Even though I won't be going to a job, I still think I'll make and pack my whole days's easy.

I always say to look around the luch room at work to see who brings homemade lunches, it's usually the 'skinny' people!

When will you be blogging your 'All Day Lunch', lol

Tracy said...


Fawn gets the credit for my introduction to the pressure cooker, for sure...but I took the ball and ran with it!

Mark my words, the pressure cooker is going to make a huge comeback....especially if I have anything to do with it. I'd rather do a dvd on the pressure cooker than KB swings, lol!

The Veggie Queen said...

I love this post and my pressure cooker.

I have taught pressure cooking for about 12 years -- I am an advocate and convert. I have convinced hundreds of people to buy pressure cookers. Sometimes, though, they need reminders to use them.

Mine live on the stove top and I use them just about every day.

I agree with many of these responses. I mean where can I go eat that I know where the food comes from AND afford to eat it often? HOME.

Thrilled to hear that I have allies.

The Veggie Queen