Nutrition-wise blog

Cooking inspiration from Julia Child

By Jennifer K. Nelson, R.D., L.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D. August 29, 2012

With all due respect to my grandmother from whom I inherited a love of food, the other woman who held my attention in the kitchen was Julia Child. When I was probably not even 5 years of age, Julia Child's cooking show followed children's programming on PBS, and I was glued. The first family dinner I cooked as young teen was one of her chicken dishes. I was so proud.

PBS has released a remix of clips of her shows in honor of what would have been her 100th birthday. As I watch her, I can't help but think she was sharing more than just tips for being a great chef. She was talking about a way of life.

Julia Child's stated, "Freshness is essential, it makes all the difference." So very little of our food or meals today consists of fresh foods. Overly processed foods are obviously not "health foods" but it goes beyond that.

It's been theorized that processed foods — quick and high in fat, salt and sugar — are contributing to the obesity epidemic. Some say we eat more and more because we are seeking satisfaction from the food that just isn't there. Unwrapping and eating is an entirely different experience than anticipating a meal that you smell cooking.

Julia Child also said: "I like the smell of something cooking; it makes me feel at home." I remember that's how I felt walking into my grandmother's house every Sunday night for dinner. It warms me to think of it now.

Today's reality is quite different. On any given day, 30-40 percent of adolescents eat fast food. A generation is growing up watching cooking channels but not learning cooking skills in their home or school kitchens.

So it seems quite fitting to close with one last message: "Keep on cooking; this is the way to eat. Keep on cooking; this is the way to live."

It need not be French or gourmet, just get in your kitchen and cook. Try using fresh, whole foods. Invite a friend or include your children. You'll be building a lifetime of skills and memories.

To your health,


Aug. 29, 2012