Do you want your children to eat healthier for the rest of their lives? They can, starting today!
My mom never bought a cooking magazine. He owned some cookbooks, usually collected by the ladies of one of the local churches. These collections were the best of the best. My mom didn’t experiment much with new recipes. He had a fabulous collection in his head that rotated and repeated and we grew up eating homemade meals almost every day. These days there are so many recipes to choose from that it can be really overwhelming to put together your little collection if you don’t already have it or if you choose to eat a little healthier than in the 50s!
Once I discovered the food section of our local newspaper, The Chicago Tribune, my experiments began. Soon, I was spending my waitress money on the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook of the Month Club. Most nights the kitchen looked like something out of that very funny scene from the foodie movie, “Mostly Martha.” When the Italian chef finishes creating his feast, she begins to hyperventilate when she sees the state of his kitchen.
For this reason, some parents would prefer that their teens stay out of the kitchen, but if they’re not going to rely entirely on for-profit packaged and processed foods, rather than taste and health, they need to learn a few Basic abilities. .
When two high school seniors asked me to teach them how to cook, I created a class for them. They asked some friends to join in and Camp Cucina was born in the summer of 2004. In five days the students learn a small repertoire of recipes that are so simple that after the first few times they will know them by heart, as my mother did. Each recipe is so great that they want to make it over and over again. In fact, some of my favorite stories come from parents sharing stories with me about how their child contributes to the meetings by doing something they learned that week.
This is truly the secret to making anyone eat healthier. No matter what the label says, the truth is, if the ingredients were processed by a machine, who knows when, using God knows what, it’s probably not that healthy for you. Instead of spending your precious dollars on packaging and processing, you can buy the highest quality ingredients. With a little training and a handful of tried-and-true recipes, you’ll rather eat at home than endure the hassle of eating out! Not to mention the expense. With the exception of a high-end restaurant, almost anything most people eat out can be made even better at home for 10-20% of the cost.
About ten years ago, a father stopped me after school to ask how I got his first grade daughter to eat vegetables. This surprised me because her mom packed homemade lunches and always contributed something really delicious to school meals. It wasn’t until 7 years later that one of the teenage girls in my cooking class admitted that she would never eat this tortilla soup dish if it had been served to her at a restaurant. Then he asked for a few seconds. He made the soup that day, along with a few others his age who had discovered the joy of preparing and sharing a meal together!