Monday, July 07, 2008

Now THAT Is How You Do It

I came home today from an aborted attempt at a final blood test from Bulldozer biting me in February (someone counted wrong and should have had me come in August), 
and find the usual random selections in my TiVo's suggestions folder.

Most often, those suggestions are cooking shows (because I have a season pass for Good Eats) and history channel specials (because I watch those all the time).

Today, one of them was an episode of Molto Mario, a show where Mario Batali is alone in a kitchen cooking for three guests.

Imagine my surprise when one of his guests turns out to be a woman with Down syndrome.  (Based on a couple of close-ups, I'd guess she was in her thirties.)

Now, that's cool enough.

It gets better.

Mario fields questions from his guests as he talks about what he was doing.  The woman with Down syndrome asked three questions (I honestly couldn't tell if they were scripted or not, but my guess, based on Mario's reaction to her second one -- see below -- was that they were not).

And Mario handled them beautifully.

The woman (if they said her name, I didn't catch it) spoke slowly and laboriously, but he didn't rush her or put words into her mouth.  He waited until she finished her first question (she asked how he got flavor into vinegar, which I think was asking why he put olive oil and vinegar in a pan together to cook) and then answered it cheerfully.

Without talking down to her.

He took her question as seriously as he would take a question from anybody else, and explained that the heat would cook the two together into a syrup that would taste very good.

She asked a second question when he started cooking a pasta, and got the same careful attention.  She asked, loosely quoted, "Pasta - you're supposed to cook pasta al dente always, right?"

He paused for a second -- I think trying to come up with something to say other than "yes" -- and then cheerfully went into an explanation of how exactly to determine how long to cook a pasta to cook it al dente (follow the instructions on the bag, but subtract 30 seconds from the lowest number (so if it says 8-9 minutes, cook it 7.5) because whatever sauce you add will cook it more).

Finally, at the end, she asked why he put extra olive oil on something that had finished cooking, and he explained, unhesitatingly, that it would the heat would make it taste "exceptional."

Kudos, Mario.

I'll always be a Good Eats girl 'cause of the science, but that was just awesome.  Kudos, kudos, kudos.  His interaction with her should be used as a training video for "how to interact respectfully with adults with cognitive disabilities."

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