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Photographs by Meadow Linn

Monday, June 6, 2011

My Magic Apron


Superman has his cape, but I have my apron. The moment the quiet and unassuming Clark Kent dons his spandex suit and flying red cape, he transforms into a superhero, fighting crime and injustice. With one twirl in a phone booth or broom closet, Superman is born, flying into the night on the wings of his billowing cape.  

One of my favorite aprons
Sashaying into the kitchen and eyeing a favorite apron, I pull it over my head and cinch the ties around my waist and undergo a metamorphosis of sorts. Everything else slips away but the task at hand, and like a pianist at his instrument or a painter at her easel, I set to work on making something both beautiful and satisfying. The apron, my magic charm, and cooking with love and sharing good food, my superpower.


Showing my cousin the wonders of cooking with a Magic Apron
At the school where I taught French, every spring the Fifth Grade Language Arts teacher has the students create a superhero alter ego. She asks them to draw a picture of their superhero selves, including their superpowers, and then write about it using the writing skills they’ve learned throughout the year. Shy kids transform into gregarious superheros, small students take on Thor-like proportions, and thin ones grow muscles to rival any bodybuilder. 

Prepping Christmas dinner in a "heavy-duty" apron
This project made me start to think…what would my superhero alter ego look like and what would my superpowers be? And that’s when I discovered the apron. No matter how old, worn-out, or dingy the clothes I’m wearing, I almost always put on an apron before making anything in the kitchen. I used to think I wore the apron simply for the purpose for which it was created, to protect my clothes from spills and splatters, but then I found myself putting an apron over the same clothes that I wore to work in the garden. I realized that the apron symbolized my transition from my mere human self to my superhero self. Apron on, I could chop, stir, and season with ease. Like a blankie to a young child, the apron makes me feel comfortable and secure, and like Superman’s cape, the apron aids me in creating culinary feats.

4th of July Apron
For me, cooking is an expression of art and love. When I prepare a meal for friends or family, I’m sharing a little bit of myself with them. My thoughts, feelings, and love are all infused into each ingredient and into each dish. That is why I like to take the same care with a meal for myself as I would for a crowd. If I don’t treat myself with love and attention, who will? I’m saddened to hear when someone says that they just eat fast food or microwave meals because… “It’s just me.” Believe it or not, with a handful of fresh quality ingredients, you can create a delicious and healthy meal for one in not much more time than it takes to warm something from a box. By cooking for yourself, you feed more than just your body. You’re also feeding your mind and spirit. Throw on a magic apron and make something special for yourself. You deserve it!

If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be? What would your superhero self look like? What gifts would you share with others?
 


Superhero Pancakes

I love making pancakes for myself. There’s nothing better than enjoying a lazy Sunday morning with a warm cup of tea and a plateful of pancakes. Why wait until there are others around to have this pleasure?!


Usually, I eat a few pancakes and then freeze the rest to warm in the toaster the next time I have a pancake craving. However, if you do want to share with someone special, this recipe makes enough.  These pancakes are gluten and dairy free, but you’d never know. They are full of flavor and have a great texture. They are well worth the extra few minutes it takes to make them.

Makes 4 - 6 pancakes

1 tbs. coconut oil
1 cup almond milk
1 tsp. lemon juice
¾ cup brown rice flour
¼ cup wild rice flour, milled in coffee or spice grinder
¼ cup potato starch (not flour)
½ tsp. baking powder
2 tbs. sugar
¼ tsp. sea salt
1 egg, lightly beaten

Melt the coconut oil in a small pan. Using a liquid measuring cup, measure the almond milk. Add the lemon juice and allow it to curdle (it will act like buttermilk in the pancakes). Set aside. Using a clean coffee grinder or spice grinder, mill the wild rice until it’s the consistency of flour. (The wild rice will add a delicious nuttiness to the pancakes.) In a medium bowl, combine the brown rice flour, wild rice flour, potato starch, baking powder, sugar, and sea salt. Then add the melted coconut oil, almond milk, and egg. Stir to combine. Since rice flour doesn’t contain gluten, you don’t have to worry about over mixing the batter! 

Melt a bit of coconut oil onto a medium-hot pan or griddle. Using a ladle or small cup, pour enough batter onto the griddle to make a four or five inch pancake. Cook until the bottom is golden brown and the top is covered in bubbles, flip and cook for a few minutes more on the other side. Repeat. Enjoy with maple syrup and dairy free butter (or rich European butter if you eat dairy).