Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Musings: Cooking with MOPS

Last night, I did a cooking demo for a MOPS group at Cayenne Kitchen and I have to admit that I had a great time, despite a short period of thinking "why did I decide to do this?" during the planning stages. The MOPS are not a tribute band for British Invasion-era songs, nor were they carrying buckets of suds. MOPS are Mothers of Pre-Schoolers.

Giving the gnashing of teeth that I often hear about how people don't cook at home as much as they used to, I worried just a little bit about how I could make my ideas simple enough without resorting to too many processed foods. The MOPS had asked for fast, simple recipes, and I decided that I'd demonstrate some salsas and flatbread and created recipes specifically for the demo.

I had a fleeting moment when I wondered if these moms were just looking for a night out and didn't care what the demo was, but as they arrived and started talking about the items on sale at Cayenne, I felt a little bit better.

During the demo, I was even more pleased when the questions starting coming. How much fresh ginger could be used in the salsa? Could the flatbread be made with whole wheat flour? Did my cast iron pan need to be seasoned, or did it come pre-seasoned? Could you make the flatbreads a day or two ahead?

I felt like I was cooking for the right group. These women knew how to cook. They just needed quick recipes because they had kids keeping them busy. Even better, they were interested in healthier alternatives, and they seemed quite pleased that the instant mashed potatoes I was using weren't loaded with preservatives.

When the demo wound down and some of the group tried their hand at making the flatbreads and sampling the salsas, there were comments all around that they'd have to make these at home, the pineapple salsa would be great on fish, and the kids would love the idea of making their own flatbreads.

Then I fielded some questions unrelated to the demo, and Terry from Cayenne Kitchen printed out my recipe for graham crackers, since several in the group had asked questions about whole wheat baking. There was more sampling followed by a bit of shopping, and it seemed like everyone enjoyed themselves.

I hope I'll have an opportunity to cook for this group again. They were a lot of fun.