Mentoring the Kitchen Magician

Have you ever had one of those experiences where you are certain beyond any wisp of doubt that you are right, only to have someone point out how wrong you are?  I had at least one of those experiences this week and between the waves of indignation, proclamations, and finally giggles; I learned something new!  It has been over two years since we moved into our home by the swake and I began using what my kids call the 'fancy shmancy' stove.

I have used that stove very effectively and efficiently to feed my family and many friends.  Apart from the odd culinary catastrophe that is bound to occur if you are a risk-taker in the kitchen, I do a pretty good job with the stove.  The results are passable enough that a resident dubbed me the Kitchen Magician last week when I wiggled my nose, rumbled through the fridge, and produced delectable supper morsels within twenty minutes of walking in the door from work.  I'm okay with a little self-promotion here and if you have ever eaten food prepared by me, you will need to leave a comment on the blog today so that my ego can be pieced back together.  What I am about to reveal still astonishes me!

As I was pulling fresh salad out of my sleeves and firing up the fancy shmancy stove, one of the swake residents got too close to the magic making and started offering unsolicited advice.  Very dangerous indeed, when the Kitchen Magician is at work.  My first reaction harkened back to a two-year-old as the words, "No.  No, you are wrong" came out of my mouth without any thought.  The resident had suggested that I was not using five out of the six burners on the stove to their full capacity. Stunning, impossible, ridiculous!

In that ridiculous state of mind I reacted as many of us do when faced with the concept that there might be more magic making that we need to learn.  I proclaimed my rightness.  I argued my position.  Usually when I end up in that ridiculous state, most people around me turn and flee.  You see although I am not physically imposing, I am darn good with using words to win.  But the resident who dared to take me on in my own domain was one of my offspring.  Who is better equipped than someone with a similar set of genetics?

Fortunately, the resident didn't back down or I would still be in denial and failing to use my stove to its full potential.  Apparently there are two levels of flame available to me on every burner on the stove, I just have to push the dial around until it stops then push the knob in and keep turning.  The resident showed me since words weren't working.  He showed me not once, but several times while I kept yammering.  This resident has some of his father's genes too, including patience and persistence.  Eventually it became evident to me that no matter how I protested, the stove did have features I was unfamiliar with despite having read the stove manual when the stove arrived.  With the dawning of that thought came the cascading giggles.  I could hardly talk I was laughing so hard.  How in the world could I, master meal maker, Kitchen Magician, and reader of the stove manual have failed to use my wonderful fancy shmancy stove to its full potential for two whole years?

Like magic I now have the ability to control the heat even better on all six burners.  I just had to have someone show me and suddenly a whole new world of opportunities opened up.  I needed someone to identify and help me fill in my gap in knowledge.  The Kitchen Magician needed a mentor.

Over the last few weeks I have spent quite a bit of time exploring the world of mentoring; I have been immersing myself in the theory and practice of mentoring.  One day last week I attended a session on mentoring sponsored by Capital Ideas Edmonton.  At that session, Dan Duckering of DEXIO talked about how mentoring is a chance to help fill in the gaps.  That is exactly what transpired beside my fancy shmancy stove this week when the resident acted as an informal mentor filling in the gap for me. Imagine the possibilities for kitchen magic now that I actually know how to fully use the stove burners!