I use the best ingredients that I can find in my local grocery store, farmer’s market, and Wholefoods (if I can’t find it anywhere else.) I try to stick to a budget (not good at this but trying hard,) and make dishes that can be prepared in way less than an hour – sometimes 15 minutes.
I don’t fuss around with the likes of truffle-scented salt or balsamic that’s been aged for 100 years (unless it’s a very welcome gift!). The foods I use are super fresh, mostly organic, whole foods. When I say “whole,” I mean a food that has been minimally processed. Anyone should be able to find all the ingredients I use. I’m also a flexitarian, meaning that I subscribe to the wonderful Michael Pollen’s philosophy of only eating foods that my grandmother would recognize, and to eat mostly veggies (a little meat and fish.) I only buy organic/humanely-reared meat, which is expensive, so I consider it to be a treat rather than an everyday occurrence.
My mission is threefold:
- To allow myself to have all the goodies and treats that my heart desires, but with a really healthy twist. I’m obsessed with feeling good, and I admit it, looking good, but I’m not a health nut. If I had to live on brown rice and sprouts, I’d pack it all in – food is to be savored and since I plan my dinner while I’m eating my lunch, I’ll never deny myself the good things in life. Pizza, burgers, pasta, desserts – bring it ON!
- To feed my daughter really great food, while teaching her the skills my mom taught me. I’m sometimes skating a little too close to becoming the scary mom in the movie, “Almost Famous,” who drives her children to the nearest pot of Miracle Whip, due to her obsessive health- nut leanings, but I manage to pull myself back. Every time my daughter wants something junky, my mission is to make a healthier version of what she wants, but with the “Lola Seal Of Approval.”
- To amaze my husband daily with my extraordinary culinary skills! He says that he’s totally spoiled, having had over a decade of gourmet dinners on the table every night and he’s right – but the bar has been raised and I’m always up for a hungry-man challenge.
I have a monster of an oven – a fierce 8-burner ancient Wolf model, which would be more at home in a restaurant than my modest kitchen. Despite the fact that it bakes unevenly, has burners that are impossible to turn down low, and shelves that are weirdly placed, I’d be bereft without it.
Lack of counter space – oh how I would love to have a large island, like the ones I drool over in magazines like Dwell of Home & Garden, but I have to make do with less counter space because the enormous darn oven, takes up most of our kitchen.
I’m a very messy cook and the lack of space isn’t a good fit for a girl who rarely closes cupboard doors. My husband is happy to be washer-up guy/sous chef TO A POINT!!
I live near a gazillion farmer’s markets and health food stores, so pretty much whatever ingredient I need is never more than a few miles away.
I have a family who are into experimenting with almost anything I put on their plates. I think they might draw the line at tripe, but we are not a family of picky eaters, and mercifully no one has a mega allergy.
I’m vain, which may seem like a handicap, but it’s actually an advantage because I love being challenged to find a way to cook/eat whereby I won’t become too chubby.
I was raised in the British countryside by a Julia Child-ish kind of mother who went to extraordinary lengths to cook the most delicious food imaginable. Way back then, we ate “real” food: veggies came from the garden, meat from the local butcher, bread from the baker and so on. We knew where our food came from and my mom, having been taught in the Cordon Bleu tradition, wouldn’t have had it any other way. At her apron strings I developed a passion for delectable food and learned how to cook by osmosis. All of our most important mom/daughter conversations took place while whipping egg whites or stirring gravy.
Now I’m a greedy mom, living in the U.S. with a daughter who is more than a bit tired of the fact that she’s not allowed Dorritios and Oreos like “ALL her friends!!!” She’s well aware of what her body needs and how junk food makes her feel crappy, but there’s peer pressure and bubblegum flavor ice cream – helloooo!
Sophie Uliano is the NY Times Bestselling author of the Gorgeously Green Book Series (Gorgeously Green, The Gorgeously Green Diet, and Do it Gorgeously.) She is founder of the popular women’s website www.gorgeouslygreen.com
Sophie has appeared regularly on many National Television Shows including Oprah, Good Morning America, and the Early Show.
Sophie’s Keynote speeches revolve around ways that every woman can empower herself by making herself, her family, and her world, a little healthier. Her approach is about taking the middle road, whereby every woman in America can make these changes, regardless of their circumstances.