©Arlene R. Taylor PhD

Not long ago, a group of friends were discussing individual differences related to brain function. It started out when one of the guests asked how soon dinner would be ready. That led to the topic of how long it takes to prepare different types of foods, which led to a discussion of the way in which different cooks or chefs might approach food preparation from the position of their innate giftedness. Soon a lively discussion was well under way.

Before long one of the guests introduced the topic of male-female differences and a great deal of good-natured laughter followed related to gender stereotypes. This in turn led to a discussion of brain lead based on a comment that “males with an innate giftedness in the right posterior lobes are often marvelous chefs, while females with an innate giftedness in one of the frontal lobes may want to have as little to do with routine meal preparation as possible.”

Almost as if on cue, one of the guests offered his perception of how four different cooks might approach making Quick Potpie. While exaggerated and somewhat tongue-in-cheek, it was highly entertaining. Here’s the basic recipe as he presented it, along with his specific instructions matched to four hypothetical individuals, each with a different brain energy advantage. Enjoy!



  • 1 medium carrot, sliced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 medium potatoes, diced
  • 1½ cups cooked peas (or other legume)
  • 1 Tablespoons olive oil (if desired)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 3 Tablespoons browned flour
  • ¼ teaspoon sage
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dehydrated chives
  • Pie crust for top and bottom of 9” pie plate (whole wheat, if desired)
  • 1 cup stock, bouillon, or sour cream

altInstructions for a Envisioning Cook

 You’ve been making potpie without a recipe since Hector was a pup. Well, at least since your grandmother turned the kitchen over to you when you were nine years old. She wanted to take up oil painting, remember?

  • You might prefer substituting a parsnip, rutabaga, turnip, or even a yam, for one of the potatoes. You also might throw in some of whatever is on sale at the farmers’ market!
  • If it’s the weekend or a holiday, and your guests don’t object, try adding a few cloves of garlic, or some cumin, or even a dash of chili. What’s the worst that can happen? If it isn’t wonderful, you can stick a bit closer to the recipe next time. Or better yet, try something entirely different!

By the way, since you are so innovative and the oven will already be fired up, you may as well make a batch of hot rolls, too. If the Quick Potpie turns out especially yummy, you might want to jot down your creative additions. If not, it can be an entirely new recipe next time (if you ever decide to make it again seeing as you like variety). In fact, in light of your daring-do attitude, we wouldn’t be surprised if by this time next year you’ve published your own cookbook or opened your own restaurant. Well, think about it, anyway.

altInstructions for a Harmonizing Cook

 We know that you are capable of pleasingly blending almost anything (colors, sounds, as well as foods). Be sure to use celery root or rutabaga instead of onions. Your partner hates onions with a purple passion, right?

  • Why not invite a couple of friends over early? They’ll bring the salad? Great! All of you can put the quick potpie together, each one doing some of the tasting and some of the work. It’ll be a great opportunity to catch up on the local gossip, too!
  • You always set such a pleasing table! It’s exactly one year since your son got his driver’s license back, so make sure there’s one candle on the cake. Oh, yes. Remember to locate and add the table extensions so that everyone can eat together. After all, it’s the connection with family and friends that’s really important! Bon appetite!

altInstructions for a Prioritizing Cook

1. If you cannot delegate this chore, approach the project logically. First, decide if you even want potpie for dinner. You might prefer to grab a bite out in order to save time and keep on working. If you choose to go with potpie, decide exactly what time you need to begin preparations in order to have dinner ready precisely at 6 o’clock. Prioritize activities to make the best use of your time. But you already know that!

2. Review, analyze, and evaluate the following:

  • Apparatus needed. The right equipment is important. The fewer the utensils dirtied the better.
  • Procedure. Is there a more efficient way to work? For example, a lot of effort could be saved (e.g., check out instructions for Cook with a lead in the Left Posterior Lobes) by simply using a package of instant gravy or a can of cream of mushroom soup. Also, you might want to use frozen prepared pie crusts to save time.
  • Recipe. The goal here is to have enough food for the family and company plus some leftovers to freeze for later. So multiply the recipe two and a half times and measure precisely.

3. If you can delegate at least part of the preparation to someone else, make sure the individual knows how to follow directions carefully and accurately

altInstructions for a Maintaining Cook

We know you want to do this correctly so here are some steps for you to follow:

  • Assemble needed bounded shapes: mixing bowl, 9”-deep Pyrex pie plate, saucepan, Teflon frying pan, wooden mixing spoon, encyclopedia (Volume S), tape measure, measuring cup, measuring spoons, and timer.
  • Line 9”-deep Pyrex pie plate with pie crust.
  • Check sage in the encyclopedia to make sure it’s safe and approved.
  • Measure carrot and potatoes to be sure they are medium sized (medium carrot = 6 inches in length; medium potato = 7 1/2 inches in circumference).
  • Wash and peel the carrot and the potatoes. Place potatoes in a bowl of water so they don’t turn brown.
  • Carefully slice carrot into circles of uniform width. Place sliced carrots and chopped onion in a saucepan along with the two cups of water and half-teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil. Set the timer for five minutes and boil for five minutes.
  • Dice the potatoes. Add diced potatoes to the carrots and onions and bring to a boil. Boil for five more minutes.
  • Turn on the oven to 350 degrees F. so it will reach desired temperature by the time you need it.
  • Make the gravy. In a non-stick Teflon frying pan, melt margarine. Stir browned flour and sage into melted margarine.
  • Add six tablespoons of hot liquid from saucepan and stir until smooth.
  • Add sour cream or other liquid (e.g., stock or bouillon) to consistency.
  • Pour gravy over vegetables.
  • Cook two more minutes or until wooden spoon easily mashes a cube of potato.
  • Pour contents of saucepan into a mixing bowl, add peas, and shake together. Pour into pie plate with bottom pie crust in place.
  • Cover top with piecrust. Seal or crimp edges and place pie plate in the oven. Bake at 350 degrees F until browned. Set timer for ten minutes and pay attention.
  • Be sure the family is already seated at the dining table when you remove potpie from oven. Cut it into six sections. Serve piping hot.

We know you will want to clean and reorganize the kitchen as soon as the meal is finished....