I started cooking, like my children did, very young. My mum, dad and granny invited me into the kitchen and taught me the basics and the joys of cooking. The kitchen was the heart of our home, the place where togetherness happened. I’ve passed these values down to my kids–they know their basics and they’re not afraid to experiment.
When I moved to America, it didn’t take me long to discover that lots of people with children were coming to the house, often just for mealtimes, to sit at the table with us and enjoy the food, and even to learn a few tidbits as we prepared together.
Eventually, I realized that although they thought they knew how to cook, they didn’t. To so many of our new neighbours, cooking meant buying ready-made components and then heating and combining them. They could make a meal, but not from scratch. And what I was doing seemed almost alien–something only professional chefs should do.
In today’s culture, we’re bombarded with marketing that cooking from scratch is just too hard. Friends and neighbours often express how much they wish they could cook from scratch, if only they had the time. But the truth is that we waste a lot of time and money when we’re afraid to cook. So the first step toward cooking at home is to shift the paradigm.
Telling a New Story
We have to let go of the messaging that cooking is “too much work” and reinstate the kitchen as the heart of the home. When the kitchen is full of food, then the sense of wellness, love, and being home is there, too. Cooking at home is also time-saving, economical, and empowering. Once people realize how easy it is to knock a meal together, they’re halfway there, and the sense of achievement is phenomenal.
I created this business to give people the ability to cook from scratch. I’m passionate about bringing back the lost art of families and friends cooking together, because I truly believe that recovering the art of cooking and eating together is the first step in restoring balance and health to our families.
At Pinny and Trowel, I consider myself a food advocate. I don’t specialize in a particular kind of cooking, but the universal basics of how to cook. Once you can roast, sauté, and steam, you can basically cook in any style. These basic methods will serve you anywhere, from the jungle of Vietnam to downtown Austin.
But What is a Pinny?
In Britain, A Pinny is an apron. The word “pinny” is short for pinafore–technically an apron is just wrapped around your waist and thighs, whereas a pinafore is an apron and bib together. (In the kitchen, we wear an apron not only to protect our clothes, as many people think, but more importantly to protect our food from us!)
The trowel, on the other hand, is a handheld gardening tool. A home cook with a thriving garden has the benefit of fresh herbs, home-grown tomatoes, etc. Even if you’re in an apartment, you can grow your own herbs and even quite a few vegetables inside. Growing food teaches us to appreciate the food, to know what’s in season, and to understand the difference in taste between fresh and frozen veggies. Plus, the most nutrients are available in any herb, fruit, or vegetable in the moments right after you’ve picked it from the plant.
Food is essential in our every day lives, from weddings and funerals, to after-school chats and family dinners. Pinny and Trowel exists to help spread the love of the kitchen, and to mobilize children who actually know how to cook from scratch. And as this love for cooking grows, we’ll also see family togetherness blooming: chatting, laughing, creating, functioning as a team, and carving out that much-needed space for conversation.