Cooking-impaired sister stirs my creativity
Funny how different sisters can be. I adore mine, but frankly she’s cooking impaired … and very, very busy. If we lived closer, I probably would have filled her refrigerator with home-cooked meals. (Preparing a great meal has always been one of my favorite ways to express love.) But we didn’t live close, so I started simplifying recipes and sending them to her to follow. Some she liked, others she rejected. To my sister Polly, Blanche is a character in A Streetcar Named Desire. Polly doesn’t know how to blanch a vegetable and doesn’t want to. What she wanted was a great tasting, healthy home cooked meal on the table in 20 minutes or less. And she wanted variety so she could avoid the always-the-same-ol’-thing-for-dinner rut.
That was the challenge and inspiration that lead me to create Help from Hayley gourmet cooking sauces.
I spent six months perfecting my recipes. I knew I’d succeeded when my sister declared my sauces delicious, easy-to-use and versatile. As it turned out, that was just the beginning. There was more to do.
I headed to an industrial test kitchen to refine my recipes for production. (If you’ve ever doubled a favorite recipe and had it fail, you know that simple math doesn’t always work. Ingredients in different volumes come together differently.) In the kitchen, I worked to ensure that no added preservatives were needed and that I could source the best ingredients for each. I completed nutritional analysis so home cooks could be certain the sauces are not only good, but good and healthy.
I encourage you to read the labels even if you’re not on any diet restrictions. Four of them are low sodium and four of them are gluten-free. They all have real ingredients – things like agave nectar, mushrooms, chipotle peppers, lemon zest -- not unpronounceable chemical compounds. All of this matters, but what my sister valued most was the confidence they’ve give her in the kitchen, not normally her favorite room in the house.
The Lemon Caper Sauce has become her go-to for dinner guests. She loves how simple it is to serve large groups – and with cheap cuts of meats – when she throws a party using the Chipolte Agave sauce. Mostly she likes knowing she can easily serve a delicious home-cooked meal at the end of a long day with Help from Hayley, even if we live in different cities.
It’s that ease, cooking confidence, and ability to serve the kind of meals that bring the whole family to the table that you, too, can enjoy. As my sister says, if my sauces do that for her, they can do it for anyone.