An Interview with Sarah Waldman, Author of Feeding a Family
We’re excited to share with you our conversation with Sarah Waldman, a Martha’s Vineyard resident and author of the new cookbook Feeding a Family: A Real Life Plan for Making Dinner Work. Sarah’s cookbook is perfect read for anyone who wants to break out of their rut and make simple, quick, healthy meals under time constraints. Of course, it’s wonderful for parents, but it’s also great for anyone who enjoys fresh, wholesome and delicious food. Not only are the recipes easy to make but the stunning photographs make the book even more delightful.
We’re also thrilled to let you know that Sarah is now a Fresh New England contributor so be sure to check back often to find her delicious, seasonal recipes on this site.
Images by Elizabeth Cecil
Sarah, you’ve authored several cookbooks. How did you get into cookbook writing and what motivated you to write your new book?
The first book I worked on, Little Bites, was my friend’s idea and she asked me to do the recipe development. That process opened my eyes to what it means to make a cookbook and made me want to dive into all aspects of the production on my own, as a challenge. You always hear “write what you know” and Feeding a Family is what I know.
What was the most challenging aspect of writing your new cookbook?
Cobbling together the time. I started the book when my kids were 1 and 4 and finished it two years later. I worked on the recipe development, writing, editing, shooting, and prop gathering while my little one was napping then when they were both in school. I never had full days to focus on the project.
What makes a successful home cook?
Everyone can be a successful home cook. I think first, lower your expectations. Simple, homecooked food is all you’re after in the beginning whether it be rice and beans, egg sandwiches, or a great roast chicken. Second, cook! If you don’t try you’ll never discover the rhythm that works for you. Lastly, set yourself up for success. Plan your meals, shop beforehand, ask for help, and cook what you and your family like to eat!
Do you have any recommendations for choosing ingredients?
I always look first to the season. We all know a strawberry tastes best in spring and a tomato in late summer. After that, see what kind of time, mood, and energy you have and go from there.
What’s your favorite local food and why?
That’s a tough one – in a seasonal place like this each time of year is so different and offers amazingly unique food. That said, I love bay scallops and am so grateful when I sit down to a plateful.
Why is home cooking important?
Home cooking is important for a million reasons from saving money and being in control of your ingredients to teaching children where food comes from and fostering a healthy relationship with eating.
How do you feel about getting children involved in the cooking process?
I think it’s important to invite and encourage kids in the kitchen. We often think children are not up for the task of preparing and eating whole foods when in fact, they are. By including children in the shopping, preparing, cooking, and eating process we are making them feel included and important.
Do you have any advice for people who love food but find cooking intimidating?
Cook with a friend every Sunday for a month to gain some confidence then make a gameplan for yourself.
That’s a great idea. Tell us, what’s your favorite cookbook and why is it your favorite?
That’s like picking a favorite child! I love The Sprouted Kitchen for healthful baking, all the Ottolenghi books for vegetable inspiration, Ina Garten for entertaining, and Heidi Swanson’s books for everyday eating.
Thanks, Sarah. If you happen to be in Providence, RI tomorrow, stop by and meet her at Stock Culinary Goods, where she’ll be signing her book and sharing some tasty summer treats. Get 10% of your entire in-store purchase while she’s there.
You can also read more about Sarah by viewing her contributor profile here.