For me, there’s food and there’s great food. Great food is bursting with taste, vitality and health. Great food is what I am about. I’m an entrepreneur with three young kids, Jess 10, Nicholas 7 and Cassie 4. Before children, I founded Planet Organic, London’s organic supermarket chain. Since becoming a mother I’ve written two cookbooks, The Best Recipes for Babies & Toddlers and Me, You & the Kids, Too, to bring to life my thoughts and ideas about healthy eating for the family, especially the little ones.
I’ve worked in nutrition and organics for over 20 years and my passion for food and health still grows, every day. Over the years, I have transformed the way I cook, the way the family eats and the products I use at home as I have learned more and more about farming, food and nutrition.I started this blog as a way to share my thoughts about food, which hopefully will resonate with you.
I’ll talk about weaning babies, feeding children, cooking from scratch and adding extra nutrition to everyday meals. I’ll be blogging about looking at food differently, suggesting you have a go at something new and try new recipes, maybe with ingredients that you haven’t tried before. Also, because my life is busy, my recipes tend to be practical and simple. I don’t have time to pre-steam this and sauté that before I make a meal – and I don’t need all of that extra washing up. I love food and cooking, but don’t want to spend my life in the kitchen.
Like a lot of people, I try to avoid processed foods. I especially look to avoid white flour and white sugar. I have made eating well the rule and badly the exception, which means, for example, that I don’t give the kids crisps for an afternoon snack every day. I give them something good for a snack every day and they can share a bag of crisps sometimes. And we generally eat a healthy, nourishing breakfast – but occasionally the kids will have chocolate croissants – Let’s face it, what would childhood be like without discovering some of life’s little treats?
What I’ll also do is take regular meals and swap healthier ingredients for unhealthy ones. So, we’ll look at what’s wrong with white flour and then I’ll give you a recipe for say, pancakes made with wholemeal spelt flour. I love using an incredibly wide range of ingredients because it shakes up habits and increases the chances of getting all the necessary nutrients. It also broadens the palate and encourages the kids to experiment.
I’m American. I was born in Mississippi and grew up outside of Boston, so my early influence was American home cooking, particularly the family dishes from the south, which I learned from my mother. I moved to London when I was 21 and lived there until the summer of 2009 where I learned about organic and healthy eating. As a family, we then packed up the house, bought a car and drove to Tuscany to slow things down. I’m now learning about Italian food culture. When I opened the doors of the first Planet Organic in 1995, my mission was to promote health in the community. I’m still on that journey; hopefully, you’ll come along with me.
Photography - © Duncan Baird Publishers 2012/Photography by Dan Jones