Why The Next Generation Needs To Know How To Cook

“Teaching kids how to feed themselves and how to live in a community responsibly is the center of an education” – Alice Waters

“We have to bring children into a new relationship to food that connects them to culture and agriculture” – Alice Waters

Two incredible quotes from Alice Waters, who is such a role model to me.  Her pivotal role as a chef, food activist and continued push to support local, organic foods that tend to our agriculture, our soil, and the health of the people and children is admirable.  That is why, when I have the opportunity to help teach at FARMS kitchen, it truly is something I value and find deeply rewarding.  FARMS stands for Focus on Agriculture in Rural Maine Schools and their mission is “To provide education about good nutrition and the role of local farms in promoting healthy, sustainable communities.”  In this particular class ( as shown in the newsletter ), we discussed that if you can learn to cook you can take care of yourself.  Cooking is one of the greatest forms of self care.  It is something that can be invigorating, exciting and deeply nourishing in so many ways.  When we teach kids to connect with real food, cook it, smell it, taste it, there is a deep connection that is formed that leaves a lasting imprint.  We also give children a valuable skill set that they then can carry on into their future for themselves and for their future families.

The problem is cooking is becoming a dying art form.  Grown ups are losing touch with cooking and our kids are beginning to identify “food like” products as real food when it is anything but.  Our food industry is now surrounded by quick, prepackaged, processed food that isn’t food at all.  As a result, our societies health is declining as well as our children’s health and the planet’s health.  It is all connected.  We are the first generation to be impacted greatly by climate change and we are the first generation that can do something about it.  Cooking and how we select our food plays a huge role in this.

Sustainability is something that is going to become more and more increasingly important if we plan on helping the impact of climate change.  Sustainable foods and farming practices re enrich the soil with valuable nutrients which is so important for the health of the earth’s soil.  The health of the earth’s soil has a direct impact on climate change so there is a cyclical effect.  What we eat does matter.  Where we buy it does matter.  It matters for the health of our planet as well as the health of our bodies.

The role of cooking and food is especially important for children as they grow and develop.  Kids need to be connecting and learning to understand what it means to cook a meal.  They need these vital skills because if we are not teaching our children this important skill, I truly believe that children will be facing even greater health problems.  If we do not know how to cook, then we are reliant on these processed, quick corporate packaged foods.  This is where we have the ability to seize our power back because it is a choice.  We vote with our dollars and everyone deserves the fundamental right to eat real food.  Cooking can be a fairly effortless process with a little organization and purchasing of real food.  We just need to make getting back into the kitchen a priority for our families.

We can be the pioneers and stewards in this effort, it just requires us to reconnect.  I believe we have the power and will to do that.  Try to find a local farm in your area and support them.  Purchase real foods  instead of pre packaged food like items.  It will actually be less expensive in the short term as well as the long term.  Find a local coop in your area as they generally purchase and carry local, seasonal foods.  Google recipes and find guides online that can help you get reacquainted with cooking.  Involve your children in grocery shopping even though you might lose your mind while doing it!! Ha!

I believe we have the power to make these changes and we need to.  Through my own personal love and connection with cooking as a chef, I hope to be a leader in this effort.  – Chef Emery ❤️❤️oxoxo

To instantly download my ChefEmery Ebook go to www.chefemery.com





Why Cooking Can Be A Meditative Practice

I believe in a current culture where we are constantly overloaded with media, technology, smart phones, fast food, processed food, there is a growing disconnect.  This disconnect not only disconnects us from ourselves but from each other and from nature.  Food and cooking can be one of the quickest, easiest ways we can connect with nature and slow down.  I especially enjoy working, teaching and watching this with children.  It is incredible to see the instant connection that children make when cooking. They smell, touch, taste and explore through their preparation of the meals.  You can see the instant connections made within themselves and others through this process.  We need to be teaching children this because they will be the stewards of our planet.  They will be the decision makers on topics such as climate change.

There has never been a more important time for children or adults to be connecting with real food.  There is a deeper facet to cooking which is the ability for it to evoke instant presence of mind.  Cooking can be an amazing, powerful tool in helping us discover quiet time and focus. There is a mediative quality in the preparation of food.  Now that summer is almost upon us, I encourage you to find a farmer’s market and walk and explore it.   Take in the smells, touch and feel the produce.  Use it as an opportunity to slow down.  Bring the food home and prepare it.  Simply focus on touching the food and use your intuition to prepare it through quiet exploration.  As Julia Child says, “No one is born a great cook, one learns by doing”  So get into the kitchen and get creative, make mistakes, have fun and use food as a way to bring more peace into your life.

I always say, cooking does not have to be complicated to be absolutely delicious.  People often get intimated easily but I encourage you to just practice.   I also believe that when food is sourced well, it does not need a lot.  Have you ever tasted a ripe tomato of the vine in summer?  It’s so delicious simply on it’s own!  I use this as an example because cooking and connecting with real food is truly is one of the most beautiful ways we can align with nature.  Our bodies were designed to eat this way.  When we connect with real food that is sourced sustainably, locally and organically, we also help mother earth.  We are helping support agriculture that is enriching the earth’s soil rather than depleting it.  This is crucial to the future of the health of our planet.  It is one of the factors that is directly effecting and impacting climate change and effects all of us.

As an organic chef, my heart is rooted in food and helping people understand that we can make a difference through our daily food choices and practices.  Alice Waters says, “I feel it is an obligation to help people understand the relation of food to agriculture and the relationship of food to culture.”  I love this quote because it is so true.  Our food choices have a cyclical nature.  Which leads me to the truth that we are all connected.  We empower change one by one by one and people open people.  When we use food and cooking as a way to practice mindful connection, we just feel better overall and it is such a simple way that we can be a part of making a difference.

On a final note I want to thank everyone once again for all the support with my cookbook.  I have only 8 copies left so if you would like one, you can order directly through me.  Go to my website at www.chefemery.com and submit a form on the contact page.  They are $45 which includes shipping within the United States and I will ship it directly to you!!  It is a great resource to help you get cooking.  oxoxoxo Chef Emery