Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Looking Back on my White House Visit 10 Years Later

I think you probably just need to look at the date of my last post (March 4, 2020) to figure out where I’ve been. Wow…that was a lot wasn’t it? I know at the time I promised a look back at favorite recipes and memories to celebrate the 10th anniversary of my blog but then 2020 happened and plans changed a bit. And while I wasn’t writing here I was still writing. But let’s talk about that some other time.

Today I want to talk about another anniversary. The anniversary of my trip to the White House on October 19, 2012. For those that are new here, here is a quick recap from the beginning.

In 2010, I was a young mom with a 2 year old and an 8 year old. I was a terrible cook. I could barely manage to boil water for pasta. I mean, on a scale of 1 to 10 we were starting at ZERO!

After watching the movie, Julie and Julia, about a woman that cooks her way through Julia Child's cookbook, I decided that I would do what she did. I’d pick a cookbook and cook my way through it. Hopefully along the way I’d learn to cook. For accountability, I decided I'd blog about the experience, just like Julie in the movie. At the time, blogging was a very new thing and I honestly thought my mom and sister would read it and that would be it.

I picked British Celebrity Chef Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution cookbook for my challenge. The idea behind the book was that everyone could and should learn how to cook, which went great with my plan. So, in March 2010 I started to cook my way through Jamie's Food Revolution cookbook. The goal was 173 recipes in 365 days.

About three months into the cooking journey, I got an email from someone on Jamie Oliver's team. They had found me and asked if I wanted to be one of Jamie Oliver's “Food Revolution Heroes!” That email kicked off a whole new leg of my crazy journey. I was also asked to be a lead in Jamie's Ambassador program. I taught cooking classes at Whole Foods. I was featured in newspaper articles. But the most surreal of them all was being invited to the  White House on October 19, 2012. We were actually invited two days. On the first day we could bring our families for a tour. The second day was the “social media meet-up.” It was one of the first in the city. There were about 50 of us and we had been chosen from a pool of about 1,000 from around the country. We had an amazing tour of the White House gardens, including Michelle Obama's kitchen garden. We heard from the White House pastry chef and the White House social media team. We even got a wave from President Obama as he made his way to the West Wing that morning. It was such an amazing day and I met so many lovely people that day. I love that we still keep in touch. 

My cooking journey was so much more than just learning to cook. It taught me to be brave and bold. It taught me that you just never know who is watching and appreciating you. 

As you can probably guess, my Food Revolution blog is a bit of a story within a story. I'm working hard to write the rest of that story. You never know, it could be a book someday! Stranger things have being invited to the White House!

Happy Cooking!



Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Where am I now? March 4, 2020

Today is the 10 year anniversary of starting my blog, Amy’s Food Revolution. That ten years went by really quickly. My kitchen is ten years older. My cookbooks are ten years older. Jamie Oliver is 10 years older. My little babies are ten years older. I am definitely ten years older. While my blog has been a bit dormant the last 3 years, my enthusiasm for cooking and talking about cooking hasn’t been as quiet. I still get questions from friends and neighbors about my blog and I still tell the story of how it started and what I learned along the way.

“The Kid,” as I called her ten years ago, is in the midst of selecting a college and she’ll be leaving home this summer. I’m so proud of her for so many things. She works hard in school, has found her passion and knows what she wants to do in life. She also knows her way around the kitchen and she definitely knows how important it is to feed yourself good food. She is also still a bit of a food snob. And I absolutely love that about her. During the last ten years, she has become an amazing sous chef. Her chief responsibilities in our kitchen are sauces, dressings and aioli. She is also 3 inches taller than me and is super handy at reaching the things on the high shelves. When it is time to make dinner she’s the first one there to help. She tells her brother, “you know, when I’m gone, you’re going to need to know how to help mom in the kitchen.” She’s vowed to teach him her secrets before she leaves. “The Baby” is now in middle school. He’s still my pickiest eater and I still get a great sense of accomplishment when he discovers a new (or old) food that he now likes. Keeping him on task to consume enough fruits and vegetables is still a weekly conversation. But, he tries and he is educated about why eating well is important and I take that as a huge win. We make one meal, no special requests, and there is no complaining. I know he loves being at the dinner table and the conversations we have. He is always the first to share details about his day. The family dinner experience has made us a stronger and closer family and no one appreciates it more than this loving, sweet guy. This winter he did a cotillion class and loved learning about table manners, what all of the forks are for and when and how to place your napkin. I know all of these skills and priorities will serve him well his whole life. I know that he will be the type of parent that knows how important it is to sit down with your children and spouse every day to connect. That means just as much to me as the food on the table.

As for me, I still challenge myself in the kitchen. I love to find new books or recipes. I love checking out the latest trends in kitchen gadgets. (Instant Pot anyone?) And my heart is full every time we sit down to a family meal and my dear, sweet husband tells me how good it is. The struggle is real but we manage to sit down together most nights. My Jamie Oliver Food Revolution cookbook is tattered and frayed and falling apart. The pages of my favorite recipes have stains and the spine of the book is barely hanging on. Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Ambassador program has since been disbanded but I still keep tabs on all of my friends that I met through the program that live around the world. Honestly, the idea of blogging again is always on my mind. Learning how to cook turned out to be so much more than cooking. The experience has definitely been something I have been processing and thinking about for the last ten years. I’m not sure what’s to come but I think we’ll start by revisiting some of my favorite posts and maybe even cooking the recipes again along the way.

Happy Cooking and Happy Blog anniversary!



Friday, May 27, 2016

Look Who’s Cooking

When I started my Food Revolution in 2010, my daughter–“the kid”– was seven (almost 8). She was a picky eater as a child but not your typical picky eater. She was a foodie. At a young age she would declare that a blueberry was not “round enough” or that the grape was “too squishy on top.” I swore she would grow up to be a quality control expert in some restaurant somewhere. She would choose asparagus over a banana. She dislikes pepperoni because it makes her “ears itch” and has always ordered the most expensive entree on the menu. I remember being so relieved when she finally would eat pizza or hot dogs because it made birthday parties and BBQs a bit easier for me. From a very young age she became my sous chef in the kitchen and she still makes all of the sauces and dressings for dinner. Need an aioli? “The kid” can whip one up for you.

Jamie’s Food Revolution challenge this year got me thinking. No one wants to read about me learning to cook anymore. Been there. Done that. But, how fun would it be if my blog now was about “the kid” learning to cook? Like I said, she is an expert at sauces and dressings but still steers clear of the oven and stove. How fun would it be to write about my little foodie (who’s not so little anymore) learning to cook Jamie’s 10 Food Revolution recipes?

So, that is what we are going to do. She started with her first recipe this morning. She made us an omelette (yes, I know, in the U.S. it is omelet. We’re going to stick with Jamie’s spelling) for breakfast. It was delicious! My picky eater was pretty hard on herself. She said it was ugly. I reminded her that my first omelette turned into scrambled eggs! The fact that it looked like an omelette was impressive enough. Not only did it look good, it tasted good too. I asked the teenager, “What do you think? It tastes good, doesn’t it?” I got a shrug of the shoulders. Again, picky. But seriously! Color me impressed. She did great!


How did your omelettes turn out?

Happy Cooking!