Friday, May 15, 2015

Food Revolution Day 2015

Friday May 15th 2015 is the fourth annual Food Revolution Day – a day of global action created by Jamie Oliver and the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation to engage and inspire people of all ages to learn about food and how to cook it.   
This year, Food Revolution Day is a global campaign to put compulsory food education back on the school curriculum. Jamie passionately believes that by educating children about food and cooking in a fun and engaging way, we can equip them with the basic skills they need to lead healthier, happier lives, for themselves and their future families.  Dorie Greenspan agrees – last year when our group Food Revolution Ambassador Mardi Michels ( chatted with her about food education, she said:  “I would love to see a generation that can cook and wants to cook for themselves and others.  The world would be a better place.”

With overweight and obesity statistics increasing at an alarming rate, and preventable diet-related disease claiming more lives earlier than ever before, it has never been more important to educate children about food, where it comes from and how it affects their bodies. Food Revolution Day is about getting kids food smart and setting them up for a long, healthy life.
At "French Fridays with Dorie", we were asked to choose a recipe or a technique you have learned from Around my French Table that we think is a “must know”.  

Per Nana ~
The most important thing I learned while cooking and preparing the recipes from Around My French Table was to try. 

I was totally in my own little safe environment cooking what was handed down from both my mother and mother in law.  Traditional recipes are wonderful and as we teach our children and grandchildren, hey become recipes loved by all. 
Nana's Cooking School- AMFT eclairs

Now that we have been blogging for over four years I have done so much more. Some successes, some failures, and some I would rather not talk about. 
Nana's Cooking School - AMFT Eclairs
I have tried techniques I have never heard, tasted food I was certain would be horrible, and came away from this project with the understanding that you simply have to try. 
Proud of lessons at Nana's

One of the techniques I have learned was to make ganache. The first time that came up I thought that I would not be able to make it work, however it turned out quite easy and I was so proud. Over the years I had made many fruit tarts but I then found Dorie's recipe to be so easy and delicious that I haven't used anything else since. I learned to make gravlax, something that always fascinated me, and I actually ate it ! And then there is the dreaded scallop....five recipes in the book called for scallops. It wasn't until doing the make up recipes that I finally tried one and actually liked it. (to Hubby they are up there with mussels, which isn't a good thing)

Nana's cooking school- ready to share.

I have found this all so rewarding and I hope that every young person will attempt to learn how to cook, learn about proper nutrition and not be afraid to try anything.

Years after Nana's Cooking School- the student meets Dorie.

Per Tricia ~
What I have learned from "Around My French Table" is that cooking, as well as enjoying what you have prepared, is much more fun as a team effort. Sharing and helping each other, as in all aspects of life, is the way to go. Win win. Really. 

While Nana and I went into this adventure believing we would simply "test" a recipe and report back to the "internet" each week, the results have been more revolutionary than that. We have made cooking friends all over the world. Ones that know we like to source our flour locally when we can and that we break for fresh cheesecake when on vacation. Our families and friends know that we need taste testers with open minds and a love of food not only each Friday, but each meal. And they want in. Because getting there is half the fun. 

We have learned that when things sound difficult or the ingredients have us thinking we will not like it before we have tried it, we had better go back to our youth when we were told to "just try it". Because that is also a pearl of wisdom. And Dorie has given us many such pearls. (Tuna and Mango Ceviche...I am looking at you).

No one has to go it alone in French Fridays because there is community of folks posting in the "Problems and Questions" section each week telling you what issues they ran into and how they resolved them. Where to find Rose Water and that we should not use canned zucchini flowers if out of season because it is not the same. While this group reinforced the support system for us, others can find the same by being engaged in their local community or simply reaching out for advice on the many internet recipe communities. How about when my neighbor offered me heirloom tomatoes that were overflowing from her garden, serendipitously on the same day I needed tomatoes for a French Friday recipe ? And then started a food blog herself when I told her about our group ? By the way, even though we have moved across town she delivered me an heirloom plant last night for my new garden. Ties bind through cooking and sharing.  

We have enjoyed watching our single friends share their prepared recipes with friends and neighbors who are just waiting for the results of the Friday adventures, witnessed others preparing dishes along side their own children or grandchildren who magically aged while we did not over the years :)

I was supported not only by the community but directly by Nana, who often sourced and delivered the more unusual ingredient to me in the famous blue tupperware containers - sharing to help ensure I would be able to prepare the recipe. That is they key to success. Getting help and taking it - sharing the journey. Several years ago Nana had my younger son visit her after school and she did an informal "Nana's Cooking School" with him. It was fabulous (pictures shared here) and we then held a family dinner when we all joined to eat what they prepared. Love that idea ~

Throughout AMFT Dorie tells us about conversations with her butchers, bakers and recipe sharing friends. Yes- that is what we need to get back to doing and of course, making sure to share this with the younger generation. To prepare food they do not have to simply go to the grocery store and then sequester themselves alone in the kitchen. These are key life skills to share and in busy times, it is all the more important to ensure they don't fall by the wayside. One unexpected joy of this adventure has been to see my son's reactions to our cooking on this site - how much they enjoy seeing us involved, helping with either cooking or taste testing and understanding that there are no guarantees but just trying is more than worth it.  

Happy Food Revolution Day ~ Spread the word !


  1. Oh, I love "Nana's Cooking School." What treasured memories you've made for your grandchildren! And, Tricia, I wish Bill would take your advice of "just try it." I think I got to him, too late!!! Wonderful post, ladies! xo

  2. I would love to be a student at "Nana's Cooking School" :-) Do those boys know how lucky they are?
    And how, how, how have our children grown so much over the past four years. We certainly HAVEN'T changed, nope - not one iota...

  3. Dorie's recipe prescripts are always so fun to read aren't they. What is so cool is that now pretty much have your own stories to tell about each recipe and the friends you made that connect you to it. It really IS revolutionary.

  4. “Nana’s Cooking School”…how cool! I am sure your grandsons will always treasure those memories! I love cooking with my “grands”! They are always so eager to learn, and I feel so lucky to have them with me. The gravlax was something I was excited to try, and the results were wonderful!
    Tricia, Great post! Who knew they had canned zucchini blossoms? Not me! Happy Food Revolution Day, ladies!

  5. Dear, dear Nana and Tricia - it was a joy to meet you both and I was thrilled to meet 'a student' - seeing that picture again made me SO happy. Your family journey in the kitchen has been an inspiration to me and to so many others. Yours is a great example of how cooking and sharing what you cook can build family and community. Lucky kids! Lucky neighbors! Lucky you! - xoDorie

  6. I LOVE THIS! "I have tried techniques I have never heard, tasted food I was certain would be horrible, and came away from this project with the understanding that you simply have to try." This, my friends is what it is ALL about ! XOXXO

  7. Learning to try (and perhaps try again) is one of the most important lessons in cooking, I think. I love the idea of "Nana's Cooking School" and that all of us in French Fridays have learned new things along the way, whether we were experienced cooks at the beginning or not. I'm especially glad to have gotten to know all of you over the course of this project.

  8. Nana, Dorie has indeed taught us to try. I love the photos of you and your grandchildren cooking together. Tricia, I also agree with your team effort and pearls of wisdom - we have certainly learned both on this journey.

  9. Awww, I remember Nana's Cooking School! What wonderful memories and I agree that it's about all the techniques and just trying new things! Tricia, I loved the "ties bind through cooking and sharing." I completely agree and I read something once that talked about how cooking and eating together is part of what makes us human and it's almost a basic drive or need to share a meal because it's so innate. Lovely post, both of you!

  10. What lovely stories both of you. I have such fond memories of my mom teaching me to cook. Tricia you are right about community. I have learned so much being a part of this group. My neighbors have helped me out in more than one occasion too.

  11. What great stories, and wonderful reminders!! You are right, just trying things, and counting on your friends (and Nana!) to help you ouT