The other day I was explaining to a woman how she could cook a particular grain to make it more digestible and nutritious, when she said to me, "You should really teach a cooking class on everything you know about healthy food." Alas, I hated to tell her that I do offer cooking and cheese making classes on my farm, but even though there was a lot of interest in these classes, very few people had the time to come out for an evening...even in the summer when the weather is good for driving out to our farm.
Yes, more and more when I speak to people about the food they choose to eat, I realize the overwhelming need for healthy cooking classes and also methods which help to connect them to the food they eat. And, this may sound rather silly to some of you, but I have been earnestly praying about how I can meet the needs of people who do desire to change their eating habits while at the same time not take too much time away from my own family by keeping a hectic speaking schedule as I have done in years past. Thus, knowing God always answers prayers, I started paying attention to what was happening around me to see where the answer was to come from.
If you bear with me on this train of thought, here is a list I have started constructing in my head:
- Last month I got a call from Bob's Red Mill asking me to do a morning television program for them even though my entry for their contest was not exactly what they were looking for, they loved my ability to "really teach a recipe".
- Just a few weeks ago I received an inquiry from the New England Cheese Making Company to be one of their featured cheese bloggers. Here is the link to the piece they wrote up about me and my blog post on how to make Brie Cheese.
- And, as has been the pattern since I started this site and started speaking out more on gut health, more parents and grandparents have been emailing me with questions on how to cook foods their kids or grandkids will eat plus heal them from the inside out. (Kind of a longer played out version of the healthy cooking class my daughter Maggie and I taught this spring that went OVER 1 HOUR PAST our allotted slot because people just kept asking questions.)
- Also, in my selling at the local farmer's market this summer, I have come face-to-face with customers who never thought ingredients, even in freshly baked foods, could be detrimental to their health. They were shocked to realize that "home cooked" didn't always equate to "healthy".
- Plus, just this last week, I experienced a parent (my sister) in shock when she found out I got her daughter to try sweet corn (and love it, of course) by just taking her out to pick some herself.
- Finally, there was a connection to a website I newly discovered, through my Twittering, to Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution site where he promotes teaching children how to cook.
So here is where all of those things took me: As a mom who home schools her own children but also as a friend to families who make other choices in educating their children, I realize that children can be influenced to learn and make good changes in their lives through a variety of different interactions. That being said, the most powerful influence in a child's life is their parents...good or bad, a child will more than often choose to please their parent over the lessons the world around them is teaching. Now, keeping what I have said in mind, translate that to the world of food and healthy eating. I love the concept of teaching children how to eat healthy and also how to interact with their food through cooking. But it is even more important to reach out to these children's parents and show them how to make changes within their homes, one purposeful step at a time, so their day-to-day influence can solidify the concepts their kids may have embraced in a cooking class. And that is when I started thinking there must be a way to teach parents how to replace a food they would normally use in their cooking and get their children involved in the kitchen, while at the same time engage their children in the process (connecting with local farms and home cooking) so it would be something everyone could embrace together.
Once again I found myself looking over the Food Revolution site, and I was surprised when a link took me to Food Tube...and a video contest. Having just finished my very first food video for my Bob's Red Mill submission and being a bit intimidated by the whole video assembly process, I wasn't that excited about trying to make another video...especially since I only had a few weeks to put the whole thing together before the submission date. But the possibilities of reaching an audience, which I knew was out there, through means of a video seemed to be the missing link that would put all the pieces together in my puzzle. Plus, I realized that any future filming could be done on my family's schedule...it would allow me to use my public speaking skills without having to travel on another persons' schedule (at least as frequently as I had been doing in the past), and best of all I could teach a lesson once and it could be repeated whenever any viewer felt the need to watch. So, I rounded up the family and we decided to go for it.
But then there was the video concept. It had to involve rice since the competition was sponsored by Uncle Bens, and it had to be a simple recipe. I knew my homemade granola bars would fit the bill, but then there was the original reasoning of why I was feeling led to explore this media...and it was bigger than this contest...to connect parents and kids to healthy food and their local farms.
OK, I am going to date myself a bit here, but when I was young one of my favorite television shows was Mr. Rogers. I am not sure how many kids were like me in this respect, but my favorite part of his show was when he would pull out a film reel and show where various things came from. It was from that concept, that I decided was the best means to connect with the kids in a video, through a farm field trip. But then there had to be an element added for the grow ups as to the "why" behind a lengthy step I was going to take with the rice to make the recipe healthy throughout. As for the submission suggestion for a 4 minute video...I just couldn't compromise. But then again, the competition in my view was just a leaping off point for me to get going in this direction whether or not I should win, so we ended up pushing the boundaries to almost 8 1/2 minutes.
All in all, I was really surprised with the video we ended up producing, considering the learning curve we transitioned through. I know as time goes on, and we perfect our craft...me talking to an unseen audience and struggling less and less with the video editing software and my son using the camera with a bit more creative interpretation (with probably a much better tripod that does jerk when it's moved), the videos will only get better. So, expect to see more links to YouTube like the recipe post that is to follow this one. And for those of you who have enjoyed this site since I started it in January, don't worry about it going away...I plan to continue my blogging. Yes, my speaking schedule has freed up a bit since I took my name off a couple of lists, but speaking out about the things I feel passionate about has just taken on a new twist...come what may.
So, gather up the gang and check out my family friendly video on how to make Crispy Rice Granola Bars and then go out, connect with the farms in your area, and then make your own batch of bars.