Creativity in cooking
Posted Jun 12, 2020 by Jacquie Robison
Sheltering in place, with every meal prepared at home, has led to more than just lots of dishes (so...many....dishes!!)
It's been a great opportunity to encourage my daughter Sofia's interest in cooking. Trying out recipes has always been a joy for her, but she hasn't always trusted herself to use a knife or felt she had the balance to be comfortable around the stove. I've assured her that these are skills each of us works on, at whatever pace is comfortable for the individual.
A Cerebral Palsy diagnosis is unique to each impacted person, and for our daughter, her mild spastic diplegia affects her legs. She has progressed from a walker to quad canes to a single point cane, and has worked (and worked!) to get where she is now -- stepping independently. There continue to be certain transitions that are a challenge for her, and I remind her that strengthening and stretching our bodies is a lifetime commitment. Not just for someone with a visible physical difference, but for all of us.
Early on in our COVID-quarantine, my husband, Jeremiah and I invited her in to the kitchen to be sous-chef for some of the meals we prepared. There are so many ways to incorporate therapy into the fun of cooking and different activities can map to your child's age and ability.
A few ideas we've had success with are mixing ingredients up in a bowl, spooning batter into muffin cups, using cookie cutters, picking the leaves of herbs from the stem, whisking eggs and peeling carrots or potatoes.
Rolling up our sleeves to create food experiences together provided time for conversation and reflection, too. We shared stories of our favorite dishes, and laughed as we made up a version of one of our favorite food shows, "Chopped". That show's host, Ted Allen, once said, "What I bring to the table is a huge enthusiasm and love for this stuff." Enthusiasm and love, along with creativity and imagination, are some of the most important ingredients in cooking. I think they're equally important in life.