Saturday, June 9, 2012

Cooking without Tasting

If you come to visit my house, something you will hear almost daily is "Here, taste this. How is it? What does it need?"

More chiles? Of course it needs more chiles!

Now, this could be seen as some attempt at creating child chef prodigies, but in reality, it's because I can't eat many of the foods that my family can. If the meal has meats from the regular store, beans if I'm close to my sulfite load, veggies and fruits from the store, eggs, garlic - there is a whole host of foods I can't eat that one or both of my kids can. There's even more that my hubby can, not having gluten issues like the rest of us.

And I have to cook for them using some of these, because my own nutrition is still low in some crucial areas. So what usually happens is that I make dishes that I've never made before, often using ingredients that I rarely ate before, or have never cooked in the manner I'm cooking them now.

It's a bit bizarre to have to judge a food by smell and look alone. I need help from the kids. Does it need more salt? More sage? How's the sour and sweet? Is it too bitter? What's the texture like? I can't judge these myself, so the kids get to help. Or my husband. Or anyone visiting our house.

I will literally walk out of the kitchen with a spoon in my hand and ask if anyone will be willing to taste a dish and give an opinion. I figure they're the ones who'll be eating it, not me. It's kind of like voting: if they don't participate, they shouldn't get to complain.

I'm used to it now. It used to feel weird, but now it's our version of normal, the idea of everyone being involved in the cooking. I like that. I wish we could eat more, but this one thing about our food issues is actually a plus, if it brings us this connection with each other and our food.

Maybe my kids can be the ones cooking for me, as they get older. ;-)

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