Well yesterday, you got to take a peek inside the cookbook, now it is time to welcome Aviva to Serendipitous Readings and have a chat, so, sit down with your coffee and enjoy the questions I got to ask her recently, and thank you so much Aviva for asking them and welcome !
While not making up new and healthy recipes for upcoming books, what is it that you read for pleasure? Are you reading anything now that is just intoxicating, one that has you so intrigued that you cannot put it down?
Thanks for asking! I’m a huge and passionate fiction reader when I’m not cooking and I am always reading something new and interesting. Right now I’m engrossed in “Cutting for Stone” by Abraham Verghese and it’s mesmerizing and so incredibly impressive and beautiful. It’s also the first book I’ve read that takes place primarily in Ethiopia, so I’m also learning about a new place, and I think it’s also the first novel written by a surgeon that I’ve ever read, and many of the characters are doctors working in a missionary hospital in Addis Ababa.
With a busy family, what is it like around your kitchen around dinner time? Is there a consensus of what everyone wants? Do you plan ahead?
I built my online menu planning system around planning ahead for a week of meals, and that’s what I almost always do for my family. I find that when I get off schedule and forget to plan ahead and shop for the week, than dinner time is much more chaotic and I remember why I started The Scramble in the first place! I plan a balanced menu for the week, usually with one or two meat dishes, one pasta, one fish, and one or two vegetarian meals. I’m usually testing new recipes so everyone gets to weigh in on whether they like the new dish, but if the kids get too sick of trying new things every night than I spend a week revisiting some of our old favorite dishes.
What was it that gave you the idea for this wonderful cookbook?
The short answer is that I had developed hundreds of new recipes since the last book came out and my publisher was willing to hire me to write a new one because the last one sold pretty well! But here’s the slightly longer answer. Since the last book came out in 2006, I have become more and more enchanted with buying, growing and eating fresh, local and seasonal food because it tastes so much better and is so much better for our communities and the environment.
As I’ve thought and written more about food over the years since I started The Scramble, I’ve realized that we can’t really separate the food that we eat from the way it’s produced and I’ve learned about the impact our food choices have on the planet. As I started letting myself really think about how food makes it from pasture or sea to our plates, I decided to start to implement some changes in my shopping habits and my family’s diet. As it turns out, these changes have made eating even more pleasurable, rather than forcing us to make many sacrifices. What’s more, these little changes, such as eating seasonally and locally, eating less meat, composting, and bringing our own grocery bags to the store are simple to make and are the pillars of a more environmentally friendly diet!
I wanted to share some of those changes we’ve made in my family along with the easy, healthy and seasonal recipes that have made it so easy and delicious to eat in a more environmentally friendly manner, so I’ve put them all together in this cookbook.
Are there any other tips that you could pass along that aren’t already in the book?
I’m constantly trying to learn new things about easy and healthy family meals! Right now I’m trying to teach myself about grilling fruit and hope to share more about that soon on my online newsletter on Facebook or on Twitter. I’m also trying to grow a lot more of my own produce this year and am battling pests that are trying to devour my chard and bok choy before we do! I made a natural spray by dissolving a little dishsoap and cayenne pepper in a spray bottle of water that seems to be doing the trick!
Are you working on a new cookbook? When can we expect to see it?
Well, I’m constantly developing new recipes for my online subscribers, but I’m still busy promoting this cookbook. My cookbooks are a lot bigger than most authors’ cookbooks and I do all my own recipe development (mine have several hundred recipes!) so they take me several years to develop and write. I don’t expect to have another one out for at least a few years! I hope your readers will find plenty of recipes to enjoy in this book and my earlier cookbook, The Six O’Clock Scramble, for quite a while.
What can fans of your book that haven’t already visited your website expect to find?
On my website I help busy people take the “scramble” out of the dinner hour each and every night! Each week I send subscribers an email with a week of easy and healthy dinner recipes and a grocery list, and they can either use the complete plan or go online and easily customize it for their families’ tastes and schedules, and it will automatically generate a new grocery list! Each seasonal recipe also includes the side dishes and all the nutritional information, so I try to make it as easy as possible for people to get healthy and delicious dinners on the table every night, and I do it all for people for about $1 a week.
Do you ever get so busy that even you have to order take-out? What is your favorite take-out?
Yes, of course, I’m a busy working mom just like many of your readers! Sometimes my family goes out to dinner, occasionally we even order pizza. I also keep a few healthy frozen meals in the freezer for those nights when things don’t go as planned, or we sometimes have scrambled eggs or cereal for dinner if it’s one of those nights.
But my feeling is that if I manage to cook for the family for 5 or 6 nights a week, I deserve to be taken out for a night, too!
Which people are influences when it comes to other chefs, creators of cookbooks past or present?
Oh, so many! I was very influenced by Barbara Kingsolver’s book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle about the author’s quest to try to live off of food from her own land and community for a whole year. As far as cookbook authors I admire, there are tons, but a few that come to mind right away are Mollie Katzen, Mark Bittman, and Ina Garten,
If you had to pick one favorite recipe out of the book which one would it be and why is it your favorite?
Isn’t that like asking a parent to pick her favorite child? But if I had top pick a couple that I’m really proud of I might go with the Pollo a la Brasa (Peruvian Grilled Chicken), which was really fun to create and has the wonderful flavor of the Peruvian chicken restaurants that are becoming so popular, and the Spinach, Basil, and Red Pepper Wraps, which are really fun to make and are great for a light lunch or dinner and even fun to serve as an appetizer if you cut them in little pinwheels. But there are tons of recipes in this cookbook that I want you to try! In fact, I’m getting hungry just talking about them…
Thanks so much for inviting me to do this Q & A with you today, and I hope your readers get a chance to check out one or both of my cookbooks!