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The Lesson of the Oven

Mexico Study Tour 09 - 222.jpg

This is Maria Elena and Miguel, my homestay family in the colonia Alta Vista of Cuernavaca. It isn't the fanciest picture, but it does, I think, say something about this couple, who've raised four children in a small space over 40 years. Family is everything, and working together is the key. Meals at Emilio Raban #14 were simple, balanced and delicious, and every meal ended with "Gracias Adios" (Thanks to God).
I feel most comfortable visiting in kitchens, and our visits were always held there. Talking around the kitchen table must be universal! As we visited one day, I sat facing the oven and noticed that Maria Elena uses it to store her kitchen towels, all neatly folded and visible through the glass door in front. The experience was similar to other home visits I've done over the years as a dietitian, reminding me once more how much I learn about eating habits and nutritional needs just by observing people in their environment. It strengthened my belief in the importance of not assuming what our clients may need from us. In this case, we can't assume just because someone has an oven, that they use it to cook food! To BE in our clients' environments and to ask what they truly need is the key to success.