Talking dinner, smoothies & family dining with Melissa d'Arabian
With four girls under eight and a Food Network series, family home cooking is a top priority for Melissa d’Arabian. The San Diego resident is heading to South Beach this weekend for the South Beach Wine & Food Fest and Fun & Fit as a Family. We chatted with the upbeat, high-energy chef about Fun & Fit, family food priorities & chocolate black bean smoothies…
Tell us about Fun & Fit as a Family
I think it’s the hidden secret of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. It’s $20 to get in and there are so many different events, exhibits and presentations – it’s like a theme park experience, you could be there for hours.
What are your plans for the big day?
I’m going to be doing a demo where the kids get to cook along with me. We’re going to make mini meatloaf, some really fun smoothies and cauliflower & broccoli salad. We’re making a chocolate black bean smoothie that’s great.
Creating healthy & nutritious food can be totally overwhelming, what are your “food priorities” with your family?
I really focus on developing a positive relationship with healthy food. I am most concerned about their relationship with food when they’re 18 and walking out into the world.
Now, does that mean that my kids eat veggies all the time? No, I’ve got four kids – that's just not my experience. But they all know how to make a vinaigrette, wash & dry salad and go to a farmers market. Do they eat everything they pick out at the market? No, but if they spend an hour with me at the grocery store, help me prepare dinner, try the food and then say no thank you – I’m ok with it. To me, it’s more important for them to enjoy healthy food than to eat it because I tell them to. Again, my oldest is only 7, so to be continued…
The other thing that’s important to me is sitting down as a family. Everyone knows that most nights at 5pm the table is getting set and at 5:30 we all sit down to dinner. That is also a great way for us to have positive relationships with food
What are some of your favorite family dishes?
Right now, the top two dishes in our house right now are quinoa and anything rolled up in a whole wheat tortilla.
What are some common misconceptions you hear a lot?
I think people are under the impression that it takes less time to go out to eat or get drive through than it takes to cook. But, if you have a few recipes in your hip pocket that you can just pull out, that’s not the case. I’ve got what I call “fast food” recipes - one of my dinners is a really good set of scrambled eggs and a green salad with vinaigrette – you can get that on the table in 15 minutes or less.
Catch d'Arabian at Fun & Fit as a Family Feb 25-26 at Jungle Island. Click here for info