We think that you are in United States and that you would prefer to view Bookwitty in English.
We will display prices in United States Dollar (USD).
Have a cookie!
Bookwitty uses cookies to personalize content and make the site easier to use. We also share some information with third parties to gather statistics about visits.

Are you Witty?

Sign in or register to share your ideas

Sign In Register

Feeding a Family: Sarah Waldman Has a Plan

SultanaBun By SultanaBun Published on May 10, 2017

Found this article relevant?

4
‘Everyone wants to know how to make dinner work because when it works it is a source of pride, connection, and light at the end of a long day.’

Sarah Waldman is a graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and she is a Mom on a mission. She wants to help you reclaim dinner for your family. The aim of her bookFeeding a Family, is to provide you with the inspiration and information you need to steer your family away from processed foods, without provoking a riot, even if you are on a tight budget and don’t happen to live near a fancy grocery store.

Waldman is quietly passionate about empowering parents to take control over what their family eats, and how their family behaves, at dinner time. Waldman is determined to convince us that we don’t need to check our emails while we spoon up our soup and we shouldn’t resort to lap trays in front of the television.

‘Our modern culture is trying to convince us that time spent on dinner preparation is wasted time, and that we need to multi-task during mealtimes to keep up. Not true. What we need is to find ways to make cooking food and eating together fit into our busy lives. It is not a lost cause, but it does require a unified effort.’

In her well-researched and informative introduction, Waldman stresses the vital role played by the family dinner in raising children. She lists some very convincing facts: research has shown, for example, that children who participate in regular family meals do better nutritionally, academically, socially and emotionally. Teenagers who eat dinner with their families are less likely to smoke, drink alcohol and do drugs. The logical conclusion is that a little extra effort in the kitchen will pay dividends beyond measure.

‘We shouldn’t add cooking guilt to our already full plate of parental self-blame.’

Without even a hint of reproach or preaching, Waldman presents a fresh approach, a clean slate as it were, to finding healthy, wholesome dishes your family will love. Her advice on nutrition is refreshingly clear cut:

‘My advice is to simply focus on eating and serving a variety of whole foods –that’s it.’

The book takes a seasonal approach: there are ten complete dinner menus per season. More than half of the daily menus are composed of a wholesome main dish followed by a healthy, sweet treat. Many also include interesting side dishes and salads. There isn’t a dessert with every meal, nor should there be. Recipes range from weekday winners to relaxed party fare. 

Https%3a%2f%2fs3.amazonaws.com%2fuploads.bookwitty.com%2f1cb33caa 8d22 4ded a9eb 449af0900fe9 inline original.jpeg?ixlib=rails 2.1
Slurpee Noodles Bowls - crunchy, super-tasty and just as spicy as you like.

The dishes are sophisticated enough to satisfy adults while being perfectly suitable for children. 

Https%3a%2f%2fs3.amazonaws.com%2fuploads.bookwitty.com%2f07e9520f f1a5 4d98 945b c4a53a7fa92c inline original.jpeg?ixlib=rails 2.1
Gado gado salad - my kids were crying out for extra helpings of raw veggies!

Many recipes include tips on how small kids can help out with the cooking, perhaps by peeling Brussels sprouts, rolling dough or crushing cookies.

Https%3a%2f%2fs3.amazonaws.com%2fuploads.bookwitty.com%2f83d53e51 5194 4ba5 91df 41fabfaa2e5f inline original.jpeg?ixlib=rails 2.1

 I loved seeing these tips because this, surely, is how we empower our children to take care of themselves.

Https%3a%2f%2fs3.amazonaws.com%2fuploads.bookwitty.com%2f369013ce 17b9 4ca7 98b5 5c8cd1932a2e inline original.jpeg?ixlib=rails 2.1
Chickpea Stew - whizzed up veggies added to the sauce add extra depth of flavour and, of course, nutrition.
Https%3a%2f%2fs3.amazonaws.com%2fuploads.bookwitty.com%2fc0d612f2 bd46 428b aaa5 4506c3f6b663 inline original.jpeg?ixlib=rails 2.1
Indian Butter Chicken - a mildly spiced curry suitable even for babies.

I was also hugely impressed to see guidelines on how elements of a dish may be used to make dinner for the littlest baby at the table. It has always been my belief that everyone at the table should eat essentially the same meal. If babies are eating the same dinner from the get go, it seems to me they are far less likely to be picky eaters later on. In one example she suggests chopping, or blitzing (as appropriate to age) the ricotta, sausage and kale toppings from a family pizza. This isn’t rocket science but then, neither is feeding a baby.

I also loved that Waldman admits that her kids don’t always eat the food she puts in front of them.

‘other times one of them ends up eating a couple of eggs for dinner. Such is life.’

The point is – with family dinners, as with so many other aspects of parenting, you’ve just got to keep trying. Stating the blindingly brilliant obvious, Waldman reminds parents that, ‘if it’s not on their plates, they can’t eat it.’

The book has clearly been very well tested. Waldman had four guest families, ‘busy, hard-working, down-to-earth food lovers,’ try out a selection of the seasonal recipes in their own kitchens. To be honest, I didn’t find that this element added significantly to the book other than providing heart-warming, real-life photographs of happy, healthy families enjoying good food.

Https%3a%2f%2fs3.amazonaws.com%2fuploads.bookwitty.com%2fbe6313c2 6b72 4cb4 a004 805b56db586f inline original.jpeg?ixlib=rails 2.1
Date and Chocolate Truffles - no added sugar and completely delicious.

Sarah Waldman has created a real no-nonsense family cookbook that rolls in the functions of a ‘kids can cook’ book and a ‘feeding baby’ book.

Https%3a%2f%2fs3.amazonaws.com%2fuploads.bookwitty.com%2f192c8169 5757 4835 945e 560a8a9a5d0c inline original.jpeg?ixlib=rails 2.1
Herby Pasta with Mussels - took me right back to an Italian beach side shack.
Https%3a%2f%2fs3.amazonaws.com%2fuploads.bookwitty.com%2f87532419 0e78 4cd5 9ba8 51113f56a2ea inline original.jpeg?ixlib=rails 2.1
German Apple Cake - cheese and apple for dinner? Yes, please.

 I love it. I really do. I have quite the selection of ‘family’ cookbooks on my shelves and this is, honestly, my new favourite. Waldman is a rock of common sense without being at all boring. Her recipes have genuinely delighted my children, who range from 5 to 18, and we have been happily eating from this book since the day it landed on my doorstep.

Https%3a%2f%2fs3.amazonaws.com%2fuploads.bookwitty.com%2f92d1fddc 8091 4c19 8e89 68be3786c83e inline original.jpeg?ixlib=rails 2.1
Chocolate Mint Milkshakes - mine lacks froth but still tasted great.
Https%3a%2f%2fs3.amazonaws.com%2fuploads.bookwitty.com%2fe0a092fe 48db 43c3 9d09 0f8cf7facd9c inline original.jpeg?ixlib=rails 2.1
Rhubarb Cake - with the toothsome bite of wholewheat flour and caramel hit of dark brown sugar. This is my kind of cake.
Https%3a%2f%2fs3.amazonaws.com%2fuploads.bookwitty.com%2fd0215c4e 7e2e 47b9 881a 91b34996233b inline original.jpeg?ixlib=rails 2.1
Frozen Peaches 'N' Cream Cake - my daughter made this as my birthday cake. Now, that is what I call a plan coming together.

The book is not labelled as a vegetarian cookbook but there are plenty of meat-free meals. Nor is it labelled as allergy-friendly but there are plenty of suggestions of alternative ingredients for those avoiding nuts, dairy or gluten. It’s not even labelled as healthy but the meals are wholesome and nutritious and desserts lean towards the virtuous. The subtitle actually reads, ‘A Real-Life Plan for Making Dinner Work’ and that is precisely what you get.

I had every intention of giving this book to my younger sister who is expecting her first baby but my family have informed me that they can’t live without Slurpee Noodle Bowls so I may have to purchase another copy. This is one cookbook that won't stay on the shelf getting dusty.


Buy your copy of Feeding a Family here.

Irish blogger and book reviewer. Official contributor to Bookwitty.com and author of Bookwitty's monthly 'Cooking the Books' feature. Erstwhile microbiologist with an MSc in Food Science, she ... Show More

Found this article relevant?

4

0 Comments

Please Sign In or Register to join the discussion

7 Related Posts