It is a chilly beginning to the first day of November, having dipped into the ’30s overnight. And so I was especially warmed by this note and photo I received when I turned my computer on this morning. The “recipe book” referred to is “Eat Fresh Food: Awesome Recipes for Teen Chefs.” It was published last year by Bloomsbury and has recently gone into another printing. I love this book because I did not write it alone. I had the help of a team of young chefs who helped create, shape, and cook the recipes. Nothing went into the book that wasn’t “teen-tasted.” With all the conversation these days about childhood obesity and getting kids to eat healthier, it is this part of the equation that is most often ignored: The food needs to taste delicious and to appeal to the taste preferences of teens. This cannot be done in a vacuum by chefs who don’t include kids and teens in the process.
Teen-friendly recipes also need to be “blessed” by a nutritionist who can help balance the critical nutritional factors that make a recipe “healthy.” Helen Kimmel, MS, RD, did an awesome job in determining what to alter to make each recipe nutritionally sound. We do not believe that kids should “eat by numbers” (meaning calories, carbs, etc.) but that, overall, each recipe should focus on fresh, unprocessed ingredients and be low in saturated fats. For more information, take a look at this wonderful article written by Jane Brody in the Science section of the New York Times and enjoy the numerous comments about the book on Amazon by parents and teens alike.
I am looking at the photo to determine what’s on Tabbie and Kimberly’s table! I see a bowl of Carrot-Ginger-Tomato Soup (that gets garnished with crispy fried carrot tops! — see recipe below) and Juicy Chicken with Roasted Spaghetti Squash, created by my daughter Shayna. It’s a real crowd-pleaser.
Months ago, I had the pleasure of being one of the chefs to congregate on the White House lawn to hear about Michele Obama’s initiative regarding childhood obesity and the myriad health concerns associated with it — i.e. childhood diabetes and heart disease. I say that the issue of “self-esteem” also needs to be addressed and the importance of cultural food preferences in families. But with all the complexity surrounding this important topic, I say there is one message that is simple enough: Eat Fresh Food.
Enjoy your day.
Dear Ms. Gold,
While carrot-ginger soups have become commonplace, this one enlivened with tomato, tastes a bit mysterious and especially fabulous. Fresh ginger adds a background of “heat” and flavor. I top it with crispy wisps of fried carrot tops. Serves 4 or 51 large bunch fresh carrots with green tops (about 12 ounces carrots)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
2 large shallots, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup tomato sauce or tomato puree
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Fried Carrot Tops: