Posted by: cmittermeier | August 27, 2017

I can cook!  OR the impact of reinforcement

I realized at the end of the last month that I had stopped cooking. What was the point, I couldn’t cook… this was hard to the core “I can’t cook”. I knew I used to be able to cook, but then…

I have an autistic son who is a picky eater. From early days, getting him to eat was often beyond my ability as a parent. We tried starving him out, with doctors permission, it didn’t work.  We tried forcing him, he would throw up, often right onto his plate. We  educated on the importance of the foods he was lacking in his diet. You can have imagine that when I would make new things, his response would not always be … polite. After a while, even his brother started learning his responses. Two weeks ago I made something new – with bacon – and it was so good I forgot myself and called the younger one down to try. His response, “it’s not anything.” Further prompting for an explanation yielded, “it’s not good, but it’s not bad”

That was pretty much the highest praise I ever got from my kids.

And I bought it. I couldn’t cook.

They are away at their Grandma’s right now, and after I realized how badly I feel about my ability to cook I decided I was going to use this time to cook. 

Tonight I tried something totally new, and without measurements. The directions were rather vague, add this, that, the other thing, sauté then add grated vegetable and continue cooking till done.  Not a single measurement, and I found out part way in that I was missing a few ingredients.  I had to use my experience with the seasonings, and in the end I tossed a few other ingredients from the list totally. The menu was pork chops with friend onions and peppers, and rice cauliflower. It was delicious.

En empty and plateCan’t you see how good it was? The riced cauliflower was a perfect pairing, it had onion, garlic, and cumin to flavour it. The pork chop was spiced with cracked peppercorns, and the pepers and red onion, being cooked in the pork chops pan also carried the spicier flavour that melded well with the richer, more savoury cauliflower rice. 

The cauliflower had the texture of couscous, and if I had not known I would have thought that’s what it was. Looking at it, you could never tell.

Now, what is the real point to all this? Words matter, no matter how hard we try to tell ourselves differently, we listen to what people say. I am a parent, and though I know what I say counts, I’m not sure if before this I fully appreciated the scope of it. As a homeschool teacher, I spent a lot more time pointing out what still needed to be done instead of cheering what was there. Though my son called me on it, and I’d try and change the mix, I’m sure my responses were no different from his to my savoury dish above… not good, but not bad.

Now, as Catholics, I am to ignore the words of the world and focus on what God thinks of me, right? But how do I do that, he is more often the silent type… or is he? Why do you think it’s so important to read the bible everyday? Because we need to hear his words, his encouragement and correction – balanced in a way no human could. Today is Sunday, our Sabbath. Many will be getting a dose of the word, but, speaking as someone who had to go long periods without the right words, I don’t think it’s enough to just hear the right words once every seven days. So here is my challenge to you, tomorrow, pick a number between 1 and 150, and then go read that psalm. Listen to what God has to say, then go find that verse in the Song of Songs… you’ll find a way to convert it to chapter:verse. Listen, your God is speaking and we need it.

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