Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Mitosis (or 'One become two').

I've made a little decision. 

I'm going to split the cooking stuff from the opinion stuff. I like doing both and if you know me then you'll know that I wouldn't be able to give up having an 'opinion' on most things but I think if I want to get the word out about how to cook for 'sensitive' types then it's probably best if I move all the recipe stuff onto a different blog. 
For that reason I'm setting up a new thing which I'm calling 'The Trials of The Inclusive Cook', it will also have it's own page on Facebook just like this one.

After a blog piece on what Inclusive Cooking is all about (which might look a little familiar) I think I will start with recipes on lentil soup and move on to Christmas cake (don't cringe I need to make it soon if it is to age properly before icing!) Then, well who knows?!!

But don't worry, I'll keep on giving my opinions (for what they are worth) here!

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Cooking philosophy

I've spent the last 25 years or so living as a vegetarian and while my mum and the rest of my closest family were very understanding and cooked meals we could all eat together I found most other people weren't prepared to do that. 

The reasons I chose to be a veggie are mine alone and belong in a separate post, what I want to talk about here is the dreaded 'special' dish.   Whenever I ate at someone else's house I had 'the special dish', something different to everyone else and frankly I didn't like it much. Generally the other guests looked at you, looked and the dish and thank god that the cook knew how to cook their meal. And it wasn't just the 'experimental cooking' that upset me. Imagine you went to a toga party and everyone is wearing togas but they make you wear a new ghost costume. It's still basically just a white sheet, but you are the one people watch and clearly feel sorry for except perhaps when the ghost costume is really glam with cool glow effects then everyone is 'ooOOoo, I almost wish I was a ghost too'.  OK so there is nothing cool about being 'normal', if we were all 'normal' life would be boring. Thank goodness we aren't but I don't always want to stand out, especially if standing out means another bland vegetarian lasagna or a ratatouille with lumps of over-salted and undercooked aubergine.

I feel that if you are all eating the same meal together then you should ALL be eating the same meal. So as a cook I cook to the lowest common denominator (no I don't cook by fractions) that is to say I take everyone's dietary needs into account and come up with ONE DISH that suits us all. It's inclusive, we all share the same experience. Plus it comes with the handy advantage that I don't have to come up with 2 menus and we all get to eat at the same time. Group meals, especially family meals are important bonding sessions, kids that eat their meals with parents and other adults in their family are learning and not just academically though it turns out that they score higher in their exams than those that eat alone or in front of the TV. Turns out family meals way out perform homework as an indicator of academic success. Also they are less likely to be over weight as adults. It's all important.

In my family inclusive cooking can be a pretty complicated affair, I'm veggie with an allergy to nuts and palm oil/fruit, my darling husband (DH) is gluten and wheat intolerant and my two kids are just intolerant of anything new/spicy/packed with veg. I'm kidding, they eat plenty that most kids wouldn't but they are not 'food motivated' (thank goodness) and that makes in my experience, for a picky eater. Plus the children have at least one friend who we often cook for who can't eat eggs and another little pal who (due to a medical condition) is on a reducing diet. Add to that my insistence that every meal must be flavoursome and not bland (a reaction against too many insipid vegetarian lasagnas) and nutritious and wow, that's one heck of a challenge!

So here is my promise to you, every recipe I stick on here is going to be 
  1. Veggie
  2. Nut free 
  3. Wheat free
  4. suitable for small children
  5. as nutritious as I can make it
  6. as flexible for other allergies as I can make it.
Oh and it has to be delicious. OK?

Monday, 17 September 2012

I'm on Facebook!

You can find me here
I hope!

The empty nest

My little one has started school. She seems so small, she only just weaned this month and a very large part of me doesn't want her to go but she wants to be there so I've not delayed her entry and there she is.
We're not given much choice in this country, either she can go to school or I can home school her. I'd love to do the later but she is a very social child and frankly our relationship seems to work best when we have at least a little time apart. I did think about trying homeschooling with my first with the idea that if it didn't workout we could always change our minds but it isn't that easy. The local schools are all very popular and over subscribed, if I tried to register her later then I may well have been faced with getting her to a school not in the next village, or even the one next to that but on the other side of our nearest town. (Don't worry, if you move into an area there is an obligation to find you a place at the nearest school, but register 'late' and it's a whole different kettle of fish!) Surely one of the upsides of school has to be forming friendships with other children that last outside of school and I just can't see that as a practical option if home is 8 miles away.
Turns out the local school is popular for a reason, it's really rather nice! The reception years unit has a nice relaxed air to it and the staff are progressive and committed. Shame therefor that Ofstead chose to call it 'satisfactory' as if maths and english scores at 11years old are the be all and end all of all primary education but I'll tackle that another time. Both girls really are very happy there and doing well so I must dry my wistful eyes on another tissue and find something else to do with our time apart. 
So far I have cleaned and scrubbed each room. I was getting ready for my roof to be replaced but I got a phone call last week to say they don't have enough scaffold so that is on hold. This morning I decided I'd give this blogging lark another bash and see if I can turn out a decent amount of writing between the loads of washing going in the machine. Don't expect another post tomorrow though as I'm off to London in the vague hope of landing a bit of work!! TTFN