Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Kitchen Dance

Back when meatloaf was my speciality (it was the only dish I could make without a recipe and my only guaranteed success) I was perusing the cookbook, looking for something new and exotic to try out.  I came across Ham Mediterranean and thought it sounded marvelous.  I collected the ingredients and set to work, creating my exciting main dish.  As I put it together I was slightly suspicious, but it wasn't until I pulled it out of the oven that I knew for sure -- I'd made glorified macaroni and cheese!

I guess you could say that cooking didn't come naturally to me.

Then I met Tom, who as a kid created his own recipe for soda crackers, who wasn't afraid of herbs and spices, and who loved to bake bread.  For our first Christmas I bought him a great stock pot, which is still our best kitchen investment, and he loved it.  And with his encouragement and help, I have learned to cook.

When Samuel was in third grade (10 years ago) we learned that the proteins in many grains and those in dairy -- gluten and casein -- act like opiates in the bodies of many kids with autism, so immediately we took the whole family off gluten and casein until we could put a proper diet in place for our son.  We filled bags with "legal" grains at a health food store and started baking.  We chose to get rid of hydrogenated oils, food colorings and other things that would sabotage our attempts at cleaning up the diet.  We moved toward more organic foods.  We ate a lot of strange stuff back then, but have discovered some very tasty and nutritious recipes along the way.   Most of our meals are very edible these days!

I am the chief cook, but can count on Tom to help with meals or offer good suggestions when I get stumped about what to cook or how to season it.  There is a rhythm to working in your kitchen with another person, and we have learned our own kitchen dance.  We seldom crash into each other and have learned to anticipate the other's needs.  Our little bit of floor space has proven to be an adequate dance floor for us. On those days that I'm not up to the solo performance, I'm glad to be able to do the kitchen dance with my favorite partner.

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