Have I been a bit heavy with my topics lately? Not that any of you lovely, sweet readers who send me such nice, encouraging comments have said so. (I’ve duly noted the comments about shorter sentences and perpetuating little miss comma more.) The truth is I like heavy. It’s somehow meaningful and real. Whilst I’ve been accused in the past of being too heavy, there’s definitly a lighter part of myself. And that light part today would like to put forward the premise that every woman has a right to good recipes.

What is it with women who don’t share recipes, or worse who share but leave that vital ingredient out? I think it’s because they identify with what they cook too much. It becomes who they are. ‘I am my cheesecake I am not going to share it. If you want it you will have to come to me, me, meee.’ The scary thing is I have to admit that I’ve been tempted down that ‘I am my cake’ route. I have a lovely hungarian cake recipe from my mum that’s fail proof, easy and wheat free – even good for Pesach, and I’ve felt at a time an ache when I shared it. But I never succumbed to my darker side. I moved beyond ‘I am my cake’ and now ‘I am my blog’. Just kidding. (I will post the delicious hungarian cake recipe soon.)
Does anyone else feel like that – not sharing.

I do understand if you cater or own a restaurant – you’re not going to give away your super special Lemon Meringue recipe. But for us average, stove cookers how many of us battle to share their signature recipes? I have a feeling that it’s only the older generation that battles. I do say that smugly, in that ‘aren’t we better than them’ way. But are we?

This recipe business reminds me of being in school and all of us pretending that we hadn’t studied when we really had. (I wasn’t one of them – I really never studied except in Grade 12 when it counted.) I hear in other schools it was the other way around. It all boils down to  competition.

What is it with women and competition? Am I getting on to a heavier topic here? I think I am. Oh OH! I’ll end it here. But just to say that women and competition does exist and it can come out in food and recipes, and yes clothes and what we own, and husbands and houses and all sorts of things. And it gets nasty even if it’s subtle. Who remembers sitting in Kindermusic or Moms and Miracles and stealing glances at the other babies. ‘Well my baby has four teeth already. And huh that baby has none.’ or ‘That little one is crawling. Why isn’t mine?’ or ‘That bratty baby won’t stop crying. Just look at my little angel – already the best behaved in class’. Worse still is post pregnant women comparing weight loss without saying a word. Just that good old look up and down. We’re all guilty of it in one way or another.

We women end up looking over our shoulder at what everyone else is doing whilst walking through our daily diary, wishing we were different, better than X, or, smirking when we are different or better than X.

So what to do? Well some people drop out of the competition and don’t bother with it at all. Sounds good except then they don’t do or aren’t anything. This ends up being just as bad as being in the competition.

I don’t have all the answers to this complex topic except to say what I would say if I had a daughter battling with competition, ‘Be the best you can be and don’t worry about anyone else. You are your own benchmark.’ And if that’s good enough to tell my ‘daughter’ well it’s good enough for me.

Focusing on oneself is not selfish, it’s doing womankind a favour. Your fabulousness (and all of us are just so fabulous in all our own special ways) will be determined by you and not those around you. True fabulousness! I love women who live their lives that way. You see it with them, you see it with their food – and they always share recipes.

Well what brought me to this innocent topic of recipes that has turned into a sinister discussion about competition? It all came from asking my mother-in-law for this spinach bake recipe which she made over Sukkot and was DELICIOUS. She said I can’t put it on my blog. I said, ‘Why ever not?’ Then she said, ‘Not everyone likes to share their recipes and the person who gave it to me may not like it.’ Well as it happens that person was my sister-in-law’s, sister-in-law’s, sister-in-law. I know it sounds funny, but it’s true. I called her up and asked her, and she, lovely, sharing woman that she is, said, ‘Sure share it.’

And so I’ve put the Spinach Bake below. Easy, healthy (especially if you substitute a healthy base instead of puff pastry) yummy way to get kids to have cheese and spinach.

SPINACH BAKE

Line a Greased Corningware dish with 1 Puff Pastry

Prick Holes

Bake 180 for 15 mins

Filling

Mix :      400g Spinach, chopped and microwaved until just limp

                1 Block grated Tussers cheese (I think you can substitute Tussers (which is not the healthiest cheese) with a more natural mozzarella. (I buy my cheese from Barrios in Norwood – Love It!)

                1 Small Simonsberg Feta, chopped – or you can get Woolies Organic Feta (Healthier – love the Woolies hormone free dairy range.)

                3 ½ eggs (keep ½ for basting later)

                Pepper (don’t need salt because the feta is salty)

Put spinach mixture on top of baked pastry

Put another Puff Pastry on top

Cut slits, brush with egg, top with sesame seeds

Bake 180 till Golden (about 1 hour)

(Originally this Recipe was cooked in the microwave. I don’t recommend it because I don’t like microwaves – but just so you know.)