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Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Supernatural Kids Cookbook Interview

Our recent interview with Nancy Mehagian author of Supernatural Kids Cookbook. The artwork in the cookbook is fun and bright and the recipes are healthy and delicious.

"I actually wrote the first version in 1977, when my own daughter was young since I believe it is so important to get kids off to a healthy start.

I think it was a bit ahead of its time but it was picked up at the time by an educational publishing company and used in schools across the country because so many subjects (like math, reading and science) can be covered through the process of cooking."

I definitely agree Nancy kids can learn so much while cooking, thanks for sharing your cookbook with us and answering our questions!

What kind of recipes will kids find in your cookbook Supernatural Kids Cookbook?
The recipes in The Supernatural Kids Cookbook range from the very simple (Salsa Surprise, Sweet Potato Chips, Peanut Honey Balls and Smoothies) to the more challenging (Fresh Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Vegetarian Chili and Shepherd's Pie).

All the recipes use simple, natural and healthy ingredients in delicious ways. I included recipes for vegetables that kids might not often eat, making them tasty, like Baked Acorn Squash using real maple syrup and cinnamon as well as Ruby Soup, a delicious version of beet borscht.

Do you have a tip for parents trying to teach their kids the importance of healthy eating?
I firmly believe in taking kids shopping, in order to introduce them to the differences between foods that are natural and those items that are processed. If the kids are reading age, I show them how to read labels to determine if something is natural or processed. Farmer's Markets are a great way to introduce children, from a young age, to tasting all kinds of fruits and vegetables in their natural state.

I'm also an advocate of getting children involved in having edible gardens, no matter their size. Even without a backyard, children can start gardens in pots on a terrace or window sill. The process of watching something grow, especially from seeds, is miraculous for children.

Also, cooking and eating at home is another great way to get kids involved in healthier eating.

Do you have a favorite recipe for kids?
All of the recipes in The Supernatural Kids Cookbook are favorites of mine. If I had to choose just one it would probably be the Swedish Pancakes. These are made with whole wheat flour, low-fat milk and a few eggs so they are high in protein. They are a bit like a classic crepe, but with more substance, and can be filled with fruit and dusted with powdered sugar or eaten with maple syrup or honey. I loved them as a child and my grown daughter still asks me to make them when she visits, even though they are really simple to make.

Have you always loved to cook or did you cook as a child?
Growing up in a traditional Armenian family my father insisted that I had to be in the kitchen when my mother was preparing dinner. My mother was a fantastic cook and known all over town for her delicious food. Early on I began baking cookies for my older brother's friends and learned that having the ability to cook was something that garnered lots of respect and gratitude from people. By the time I was 21 years old, I opened the first vegetarian health food restaurant in Spain, on the island of Ibiza.

Do you have other projects we should look for in the future?
Yes, indeed. A series of The Supernatural Kids Cookbook will be next. I'm currently at work on some holiday recipes--things that kids can make to go along with the traditional holiday meals and then another cookbook for children focusing on recipes and traditions around the world for a true multi-cultural experience.

We would love people to know that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of every book is going to the End Hunger Network, founded many years ago by Jeff Bridges to end childhood hunger.

Thanks again Nancy Mehagian! I can't wait to see your new projects in the future.
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