By Catherine Kenwell

We often take for granted that most people know how to cook simple meals. But sometimes we meet individuals who’ve had ‘bad kitchen luck’ and are intimidated to try new things. We encounter people who are genuinely overwhelmed by food preparation, and have spent their lives avoiding it.

A few days ago, I was getting ready to close the store when a woman I’d never seen before walked in. I welcomed her and noticed she had a list in her hand—she was clearly coming into BOO with something in mind.

I asked her if she’d visited before, and she said no, but she had a list of items she wanted to purchase. She seemed reserved but determined; not interested in tasting or sampling, but insistent on buying what she came in for.

“Oh,” I said. “Where does your list come from?”

“I’ve been on your website and your social media, and I read about your anniversary sale,” she said. “I figured it was time for me to come in.”

I reviewed her list, and we began chatting while I poured her products.

“How are you planning to use these oils?” I asked.

She hesitated for a moment. “I confess,” she said. “I’m a terrible cook. I always have been. It’s something I’ve never learned to do, and I’ve always felt disappointed about that. So now that my kids are grown, I’m taking the time to teach myself.”

She continued. “I want to cook healthy foods, and I decided that I’m going to learn using your products and your recipes.”

Now, we have hundreds of delicious, healthy and simple recipes on our website, but I’d never heard of anyone teaching themselves to cook by following our lead.

“Wow, that’s terrific!” I exclaimed. “Good for you!”

And sure enough, the products she was purchasing were featured in several recipes she’d chosen to start with.

She had lots of questions on how to use the products, general cooking tips, and cooking classes. I told her that we sometimes feature cooking or product demos and that she can sign up to our e-newsletter or check our social media for upcoming dates. We talked about cooking in general and cooking courses I’d taken with the Toronto Board of Education. She’s interested in similar courses, and I suggested she look into continuing education courses at Georgian College or Liaison College.

By the time she was ready to leave, we’d had a fulsome conversation and we were both excited about her culinary journey. She left the store with four bottles and an enthusiasm that seemed to have grown during her visit.

Several days later, I’m still buoyed by her enthusiasm and courage to learn something so out of her comfort zone. I can’t wait for an update on her journey!

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