Life Lessons

I learned much of what I know about cooking very passively, by absentmindedly watching how my mother handled the kitchen.  As a child, I never took much interest in cooking or baking; I was more into arts and crafts.  Being in the kitchen was never part of my chores, and it was easier for my mom to get things done quickly and efficiently without a bunch of kids making a big mess. My siblings and I were only expected to take care of our rooms, our personal hygiene and most importantly, to excel at school.

Now that my schooling days are (most probably) over, I have come to realize that many of the skills I developed are not taught in the classroom.  What has become of home economics programs and cooking classes at our public schools? As far as I know they are non-existent. If my class spent only  one hour a month in the kitchen for the 12 years we spent at school, I would have learned enough to make my life much easier when I became a homemaker myself.  Nothing we learn at school prepares us to become good wives/husbands, parents and providers for our families. We are taught so many things except how to lead healthy, happy lives. What a shame.

Children's cookbooks have the double benefit of getting kids excited about cooking and reading. I especially like those written by the British nutritionist Annabel Karmel

As all good parents, I try to make up for what I was deprived by providing it for my daughter.  She has joined me in the kitchen from the day she mastered walking. She loves it and I love the time we spend together. Memories to last a lifetime. At two and a half she knows the names of all the fruits, veg and pantry supplies, and has memorized the recipe for cupcakes!  She loves to read (rather look at the pictures) and cookbooks are very appealing to her.   I do not feel that I am molding her into becoming a perfect housewife, or that I am brainwashing her into thinking that a woman’s place is in the kitchen.  I am just ingraining in her the attitude to feed herself (and her family should she have one) well.

Happy as can be showing off in the kitchen!

Boys are often excluded from kitchen activities.  What some mothers don’t realize is that their sons will grow up to be men, and all men will find themselves in situations where they’ll need to cook for themselves. Who knows, you’re little one might end up in a university dorm somewhere in Europe or the States. The last thing you would want is for them to be living off of junk food and fast food.  No wonder so many Libyan men return with foreign wives in tow!  I do not have a son myself, but if I ever do he will be at the counter side by side with his sister.

Ramadan always provides a good opportunity for the whole family to share time together in the kitchen. Coming together over food creates bonds that last a lifetime. I leave you with this wish from my kitchen hero Jamie Oliver:

I wish for everyone to help create a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity. Jamie Oliver, TED 2010

I’m with you Jamie!

To learn more about Jamie Oliver and his “Food Revolution” please visit


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Yaseen El kanuni says:

    Dear Sarah,

    You certainly enchant as much as preach the importance of getting children involved, even at a very early age. The way in which you put the subject forward is certainly very encouraging, at the least it got me thinking of other ways to tackle my tactics and methods to encourage my kids to indulge more of their past time in as you once stated ”life’s little lessons”.

    Books are not readily available in Tripoli, like those of the DK series, these are very precious and hugely helpful in the kitchen.

    Thank you for your very encouraging post, it is without doubt that i would be first in a long queue to sponsor you to start a long series of short daily T.V programs in getting the idea across to many parents. This would indeed also be in part a psychological advantage to many whom see no responsibility towards their children, they will even learn to see the bright side of children shine even further.

    God bless, and may our children be the guiding stars of this nation to the future.

    1. Hi Yaseen,
      I’m glad to see you have commented here rather than on the Facebook page. Your opinion will reach more readers this way. Oh the glory that are books. I bring them by the bag load whenever I’m on holiday. Learning the value of reading should also be instilled at an early age. I started reading to Dana before she was even born! I think it really helped.

      I guess ultimately I would love for the We Are Food project to become a beacon for healthy eating and obviously TV is the best medium to promote this. Who knows, the project has only been online for just under two months. We’ll see where it takes us.

      Till then keep reading and I promise a piece on men in the kitchen soon!

  2. diplowife says:


    I found your blog through Khadija Teri! And I agree, one hundred percent about how there are some things we must learn, that cannot be taught in formal education. I am now struggling as a newbie housewife about keeping house, including cooking. How I wished I spent some time paying attention to my mom when I was younger. Like you, I will make sure to pass along this wisdom to my kids (when I have them). Ramadan Kareem!

    1. If only we knew then what we do now 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. Compared to Khadija, I’m still new to the game of blogging! Best wishes to you and your family. Hope you enjoy you’re stay in Libya, and most of all good luck in the kitchen!

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