Saturday, February 21, 2015

"He Had Me at Hello (insert British accent here)"

So, since this is my blog's five year "blog-iversary" I'm spending a bit of time reminiscing and looking back at old posts and thinking of what was going through my head 5 years ago. Let me set the stage for you. I was frustrated. It was February 2010 and for New Year's one of the resolutions I had made was to cook more. I was a mom with two kids that couldn't and didn't cook. I should be feeding my family better. Now, there is more to this story of course but I'm saving that for a book, or when I sit down with Oprah some day. 

I had made this resolution but for the life of me I had no idea how I was going to accomplish this. Soon after New Year's we had watched Julie and Julia and the idea to do a similar exercise was still whirling in my head. But how would I go about writing a blog? And who would read it? And wasn't taking on cooking enough of a challenge without adding a blog to the mix? And there was no way my kids and husband were going to put up with a year of French cooking. And on, and on, and on.

So, the first thing I thought I would tackle was picking a book. I’d worry about the blogging part later. So, when I came across Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution cookbook in the bookstore that day in February of 2010 something took hold. The back of the book says:

“This book is inspired by all the people I've met who thought they could never and would never learn how to cook. I believe that good home cooking is one of the most essential, fundamental skills that every single person on this planet should have in order to look after themselves, their families, and their friend. This food revolution is all about people learning how to make a recipe, then teaching that recipe to their friends and family…if enough people do this, pretty soon everyone will be cooking.” 

And that's where he had me. I knew then if I was going to do this crazy thing that it would need to be Jamie Oliver that would teach me and it would have to be this book. I totally got it. It was like the back of that book was him writing a note specifically to me.

Of course, now I know that I wasn't the only one of my generation who had skipped out on kitchen duty and now stared at the pots and pans with toddlers under their feet not knowing where to begin. Now I get it. Now I get that my problem was a bit of a generational one. We had lost the skills that had been passed down and that knowledge was replaced with factory frozen lasagnas and drive thru windows. I bought the book on the spot (along with a Max and Ruby book for my toddler). I didn't even open it. Who says you can’t judge a book by its cover? That day I definitely did.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Love is in the Air....

...and for our family that means it's time for our annual Tea Party. It is a day that the kids look forward to each year, especially our oldest. It means we prepare as close to a traditional English Tea as we can. I pull out the little collection of "tea books" that I have and the cutesy pink teapot that we have been using since she was a toddler. We invite some girls over, let them indulge in the sugar cubes and call it a party. She usually humors her little brother and lets him sit with them and everyone is happy. It's a day of treats but of the homemade, special occasion variety.

I thought she was outgrowing this little tradition. She hadn't mentioned it this year and I was thinking that since she is now twelve that meant my tea party days were over. Also, you never know with twelve year olds if it is a "Mom, you're cool" day or a "Really, Mom?" oh-so-not-cool day. So, I was completely shocked when she came home from school today (the day before Valentine's day) and said, "So, Mommy, what day should we have my tea party?" I turned around and there she stood, eye to eye with me. She's been just about my height for almost a year but it still takes me by surprise. How did this happen so fast? She said she had the menu planned out and knew who she wanted to invite. And that is when my heart skipped a beat. I was excited that this wasn't on the "I'm too old for this" list yet because I love doing this with her each year. And who knows, maybe her 13 year old self next year will think that she is too old. So I'll get out the teapot and run to the store early tomorrow morning so we can bake our favorite scone recipe together and slice strawberries and make cucumber sandwiches. Because the other thing about twelve year olds and this February 14th holiday, there aren't too many more left that she will want to spend with me. And I'm going to enjoy every minute of it. 

If you aren't all ready....

Follow me on Twitter (@amysfoodrev), Facebook (Amy's Food Revolution page) and/or Instagram (amysfoodrev) to see photos of the tea party this weekend and to get our favorite scone recipe.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Make a Resolution for a Food Revolution

Happy New Year from Amy’s Food Revolution! 2015 is a big year for my Food Revolution because it marks the 5 year anniversary of when it all began. And, as some of you may know, it all started with a New Year’s Resolution. In fact, it is the only New Year’s Resolution that I have ever really kept. Most New Year’s resolutions are “lose something (weight),” “stop something (a bad habit),” “don’t do this” or “don’t do that.” On January 1st of 2010 I decided to make resolutions that had a positive spin on them. Each resolution had the word “more” in it and one of them was to “Cook more.” Now I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to accomplish this but I knew that if I was going to cook more I would need to learn how to cook. I could barely boil water for pasta (me and boiling pots still don’t really get along too well) so how was I going to learn how to cook? 

A few weeks later my husband and I watched the movie “Julie and Julia” and the movie stuck with me. I was sure that it was the key to how I would learn to cook. If you haven’t seen the movie, Julie Powell cooks her way through Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” The famous cookbook has a daunting 524 recipes and I knew my young family was not going to let me get away with copying Ms. Powell’s journey exactly as she did it. I needed to find another book. Now, this was months before Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution TV show in the US and honestly I didn’t know a whole lot about him. But one day at the book store, I came across Jamie’s Food Revolution Cookbook (while chasing a toddler who was gnawing on Max and Ruby books and running through the store.) And the rest is, as they say, history. I did cook more. In 365 days, I cooked all 173 recipes in Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution cook book. I not only cooked more but I:

My “Cook More” New Year’s Resolution has been a journey that outlived its New Year's Resolution status. 

So, if you’ll humor me, this year I’ll be revisiting my original days of Amy’s Food Revolution. I hope that going back and looking at my journey will inspire others to take a bold step into their kitchen. 

So, for 2015, I hope you will resolve to spend more time in your kitchen. "More" can simply mean to eat out a little less or cook a new recipe with your family just once a week. Who knows, you might find out that it is the easiest and best resolution you ever kept.

Happy New Year!