See one, do one, teach one. I first heard this surgical term during my years as an administrative coordinator at one of the most prestigious medical schools in the country. It’s an adage that works just as well with any number of life’s lessons. In my case, the kitchen. To be quite honest, I’ve never cared one iota about cooking. Growing up, I left the cooking to my mother, a task she actually enjoyed, especially with me cleaning up afterwards and in spite of her working outside the home 48 hours a week. After I married and had children to feed plus a husband who grew up loving local diner food when he wasn’t eating his immigrant grandma’s cooking, I finally took a half-hearted interest in preparing a few dishes well. Okay, one dish—ravioli, which over the years has become my go-to staple.
Eons ago it was my mother who taught Hubby D and me how to make ravioli. She learned from her mother or maybe her sister-in-law or maybe both of them. After that one and only lesson from my mother, I became the official ravioli maker in my home, in spite of HD having an extensive background in baking—hands-on, formal training, and later management. Baking vs. Cooking. Never the twain shall meet without the proverbial locking horns since baking is a science and cooking is an art. Translation: D believes in following recipes to the letter whereas I prefer a bit of a bit of recipe tinkering to satisfy my creative juices.
Which brings me round to the see one, do one, teach one. While the offspring were growing up, they all took a turn or three helping to make the ravioli. Some more so than others—the old-fashioned way, using a hand-cranked meat grinder for the filling and mixing flour and eggs by hand for the dough before rolling it out by hand. Fast forward to the present Son #1 as well as daughter D have been making their own ravioli for years, using the simplified method I passed on to them. That would be a food processor for not only the filling but the dough too, although we still roll out our dough by hand—with a rolling pin instead of a pasta machine.
Several years ago Hubby D and I gave Daughter a hand with her first ravioli school. More like a half day with her longtime friend and her friend’s longtime friend, but school sounds much more impressive than a three-plus-hour class. And we did, after all, squeeze in a lot of technique in a short period of time, including the occasional locking of horns between D and me. Otherwise known as the entertainment break.
Around that same time, while Hubby D and I were visiting #1 Son and family in Wyoming, I wound up helping #1 make a batch of ravioli—whoa! Somehow he veered off course in the assembling process, which resulted in a spirited discussion on the proper and practical way to assemble—as in my tried and true method. Such a racket we must’ve made since #1’s youngest son and a friend came running up from the basement to make sure no blood was being shed. Of course there wasn’t. Mother and Grasshopper were merely engaging in a bit of misremembered nostalgia. Recently, that same concerned grandson called me on his way back from college, bringing with him a batch of frozen ravioli he’d made at home (technique taught by his dad). He wanted to know how to convert those babies into toasted ravioli. I gave him explicit instructions and several days later he called to say his toasted ravioli were a hit with his college friends. Way to go, Giac!
Then #2 Offspring of our #4 Offspring came home from college. Per #2’s earlier request, D and I had another ravioli school for her and her mom J. What quick studies those were—no yelling, no whining, no grumbling. They left with enough ravioli to cover a number of small meals. Or a big one for special friends, which #2 quickly vetoed.
Now on a roll, Hubby D, Daughter, and I recently conducted another ravioli school, this time at Casalago, our family retreat at Lake of the Ozarks. Again, two students—Grandson #1 (Offspring #1 of our #2 Offspring) and his bride K. Another set of quick learners who never gave us any lip, except for kisses goodbye. They took home a very generous batch of ravioli and served them at K’s family Thanksgiving. Perhaps another tradition in the works?
And the beat goes on. That same Thanksgiving weekend, Daughter D and her hubby traveled to Albuquerque to visit their daughter E who couldn’t come home for the holiday when she usually gets a helping or two of my sweet potato ravioli. So, instead of bringing the leftovers on the plane, D spent a few hours teaching E how to make another version, this one using pumpkin instead of sweet potatoes.
So the tradition of learning continues but with a slight twist in the Giacoletto family. Eat one, do one, teach one. Eat again.
What about you? Is there a how-to passed on to you that you’ve passed on to others?