Feeding a Family

by Moira Silva

Feeding a Family

Elizabeth Cecil

Before bed one recent night, I cracked open a copy of Island resident Sarah Waldman’s new cookbook, Feeding a Family: A Real-Life Plan for Making Dinner Work. While I had planned on a quick once-over, I soon found myself folding corners and underlining tips and observations.

Inspired by my first reading, the following morning I presented my family with an array of new toppings for our traditional French toast - granola, cinnamon, and strawberries sliced by my three-year-old. Waldman’s modern guide to family cooking instantly expanded my repertoire and deepened my commitment to cooking for my loved ones.

Waldman, a food blogger who graduated from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, shows readers how to engage the whole family in the process of cooking, encouraging them to improvise along the way. She insists that even busy families with picky eaters can get hooked on healthy foods such as chickpeas, flaxseeds, quinoa, arugula, almonds and Greek yogurt.

Waldman writes persuasively about the importance of serving family dinners and enlisting children to lead the way. She invites readers into her home, to see her own sons pressing corn tortillas and sipping their favorite banana milk nightcaps. Waldman creates an intimacy with her readers and makes us feel that she is one of us: a mother juggling many responsibilities, and a woman who knows that family life doesn’t always mean cozy chowder dinners and sing-a-longs by the fire.

Thus, her suggestion for a “Low Stress Dinner for a Stressful Day”: Chicken Gyros with Lemon Yogurt Sauce. And her clever, but subtle, technique for helping picky eaters who favor hot dogs and macaroni and cheese to appreciate the joys of Local Sausage with Butternut Squash Cheesey Casserole. Dessert? Four Ingredient Cookies, a wholesome treat even a five-year-old can create (with a modicum of grown-up help).

Throughout the book, Waldman provides notes about dishes that can be cooked in 15-minutes, sauces that can be prepared three days ahead or vegetables that can be chopped the night before and slipped into the slow cooker first thing in the morning. And drawing on her experience as a mother, she explains how to adapt recipes for a baby, encourage kids to help with food prep and notes how and when to create killer leftovers. Bonus: Her list of go-to meals made with pantry staples, like Quick Curry or Roasted Veggie Pasta.

Throughout the cookbook, beautiful photographs taken by Elizabeth Cecil showcase Waldman’s 40 multi-course meals in all of their glory - fresh, earthy and delicious.

Feeding A Family is practical, adventurous and fun. With recipes for homemade pasta, crepes, Carolina Pork, weeknight sushi, Indian butter chicken and churros dipped in Mexican chocolate, readers may feel that they have traveled the world with Anthony Bordain. But with Sarah Waldman as our guide, Feeding a Family is all about bringing it home.