The Cooking Lesson

Recently I read some alarming statistics about child and adult obesity. As of 2023, in the United States 19% of children and adolescents and 41.9% of adults are obese. Really? Why? There are many reasons but the biggest one I see is that many people don’t know how to cook or create a pantry. Lack of time and the overabundance of fast and processed foods make it way too easy to grab and go. Also, television shows that feature celebrity chefs who have sophisticated culinary skills probably intimidate a lot of people. Viewers may think “This is way too complicated, thanks but no thanks”!

If I had one wish it would be that gardening, cooking, baking and food preservation would be taught in school from K through 12. Were my wish to come true, we’d have a much healthier population. Well prepared food contributes enormously to a person’s well-being so I imagine people would be happier too.

Last week I was thrilled when my friend Randall invited me to watch him give a cooking lesson to his seven year old son Zaimon. They were making sweet and sour chicken and rice. When I arrived, I perched on a bar stool and watched the two of them make the sauce. Randall explained to Zaimon that cooking was like putting a puzzle together and it used a lot of math. Four tablespoons equals ¼ cup, two ¼ cups equal ½ cup and so on. He patiently helped Zaimon read the recipe and match the measurements with the measuring spoons and cups. He gave him little tips such as pack the brown sugar into the cup and tap the ketchup bottle on the counter to make it come out. The recipe called for honey and they didn’t have any so they substituted molasses. I could see that Zaimon gained self-confidence from his new found skill. 

When the sauce was done, they poured it over a pan of chicken legs and popped it in the oven. The rice went into the rice cooker and I cut up some peas and broccoli and steamed them. The end result was so delicious that I had three helpings; I thought about a fourth but said no. When we were finished, we got up and danced in the living room along with the German shepherd. A good time was had by all! Perhaps Zaimon and Randall could have their own cooking show and demonstrate to the world that good food can be had by everyone, including folks who don’t know how to cook  . . . yet. Maybe a celebrity chef or two would watch it and want to be a guest. Who knows? Anything is possible.