Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hide and Seek

I opened the newspaper a day ago to find a rave review of a new cookbook that was just released. I first want to say, I love cookbooks. Some people collect dolls, coins, cars… I collect cookbooks. However, this cookbook upset me. The ideas behind it hurt me as a mom and as a nutritionist. I do not plan to name names but I will briefly describe the cookbook and why it hit a nerve.

This cookbook is about hiding fruits and vegetables into kids’ foods. It is proclaimed to be the answer to picky finicky eater (kids).

First as a mom, hiding what is in my kid’s food is dishonest and I just cannot go there. As a nutritionist, it outrages me. We should be teaching our children healthy eating habits not teaching them to be underhanded and deceptive. Sneaking things into foods, does not teach our children to be health adult eaters. It reinforces the notice than unhealthy food choices are fine because they are being served what appears to be an unhealthy food.

It also makes me nervous. I have friends and family with food allergies. What is a child to do when they cannot trust the food in front of them?

I do not believe the answer is hiding fruits and vegetables in foods. The answer is that we as parents are the role models, the providers, the first nutrition educators our children have. We need to raise children with a palate for fruits and vegetables. We need to educate them on the benefits of fruits, vegetables and moderation.

My eldest daughter at the age of five would proudly announce that her favorite food was carrots. Now at 13, she eats a variety of foods and recently made me so proud. She came home from a friend’s house all in a titter, not unusual for a 13 year old. “Did I know that she had never had Cool Whip and that she had to tell her friend that she never had it and why she would not eat it?” Yes, I knew that. We have explained to her that we choose whole foods, real foods, and healthy foods.

I am not saying this child has never had whipped cream. She has… homemade whipped cream. But she knew enough to say no thank you and explain why. It made her feel a little odd but she stood by what she knew to be true. Cool Whip is not a food. It is a petroleumproduct. It makes her proud to know this and to share it.

My kids do not eat square food (processed food from a box), they have been raised eating a variety of fruits and vegetables and being educated on them.

I like to think this approach, the honest educated approach, will yield an adult with healthy eating habits and one that can trust her food and me.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

“If I sing when I cook, the food will be happy.”

One of my favorite quotes is by Pasquale Carpino
“If I sing when I cook, the food will be happy.”
I would to share why this quote speaks to me, of me.

Cooking is a passion of mine. Nutrition is a passion of mine.
As a youth, I dreamed of being a pastry chef. As an adult, I became a nutritionist.
I take these passions, twin passions if you will, and feed them with food and song.

To find me in the kitchen is to find me combining my passions. I take time to mentally prepare a meal; one that nourishes both body and soul. I take joy in the art of cooking and providing nourishment for my family and I. During this process, I allow the music from my heart to sing out loud. It is a reflection of my passion and my love.

I watch a lot of food on TV and I hear a lot about food of love. To me that love is expressed not only in my meals but also in my song.

Because to sing when I cook, is to prepare and provide food of love.

I encourage you to sing when you cook.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


What is the show about? The FoodNetwork website bills this as a “series that challenges four up-and-coming chefs to turn a selection of everyday ingredients into an extraordinary three-course meal”. Each round contains a mystery basket. The Chefs are challenged to use every ingredient in the basket… sounds interesting… yes it does. However, the Judge themselves cannot adhere to the rules set fourth and often allowed a Chef to pass to the next round that refused or failed to utilize each ingredient or who dropped food on the floor.

Below is not intended to be list of sins but rather an example:

Pippa Calland (Winner) Episode 2. In her dish the judges could not detect the mystery item, Thai chilies, and in the final round present a ‘napoleon’ (in name only) that was an unsightly mess upon the plate.

Chris Burke: Episode 3. Dropped chicken on the floor, served it, and moved to the next round. This is not only unsanitary but is unforgivable.

Mina Newman (Winner) Episode 8: In the second round, she could not create a single dish but rather present two dishes and moved to the next round.

William Lustberg: Episode 9. Refused to use one of the mystery items and moved to the next round.

These are but 4 instances out of 9 episodes.

The show has no integrity and if I were a Chef, losing would reflect better on my resume than winning.
If this show is based on taste, creativity, and presentation, then it would be CHOPPED!
I know that for me, it will not pass to the next round.