Teach Our Children Well

When I say I’m a food writer, people often impose a gourmet status onto me that’s just not so. Sure, I can whip up a stellar chichi meal, but nowadays that happens about twice a year. The rest of the time I still enjoy cooking, but it’s a simple affair. I’ve spent a good deal of my career, in fact, trying to bridge the perceptual chasm between how America defines “gourmet” (people who love food) and “normal” (people who think people who love food are “gourmet”).

teach-our-children-well{My daughter, Noemi, triumphant with the one and only bunch of carrots we reaped from our garden this year}

Which is why I’ve been so delighted to see Michelle Obama digging in the kitchen garden with middle-schoolers and teenagers rather than with Eric Ripert and Thomas Keller. The strategy Obama is using, says Jane Black in her recent Washington Post article, is to link “the personal to the political by gardening, cooking and eating with students.” Note that Obama isn’t trying to impart to the children that they, too, can become Top Chefs if they learn to cook. Nor that arugula is only for the elite. Exactly the opposite, in fact. As Josh Viertel, president of Slow Food USA, puts it in the article, Obama and her team are “normalizing something that should be normal.”

It may sound simplistic, but it’s working for Obama. By getting kids to interact with their food—shucking corn, cleaning lettuce—the first lady is transforming something that was loathesome (vegetables, blech!) into something cool. I’ve seen this scenario play out firsthand with our daughter, Noemi. People balk when they hear she loves figs, for instance, thinking we’re raising her to be a food snob. But it really has little to do with us. When she peeks under our tree’s broad leaves every day to see if any figs have ripened, how can she not adore them? To her, they’re not some exotic fruit, but a playmate in an ongoing game of hide and seek.

The principal is simple: when you engage food in its raw state it changes the way you think about it, whether you’re 3 or 30 or a 103.

I agree with Obama and her team that the earlier we get children interested in their food—how it grows, what it tastes like, how it makes them feel, how good it is to sit down and share a meal—the more likely they are to remain engaged throughout their lifetime. I also agree that the first step to dealing with all the complex issues surrounding food policy (which we’ll be addressing little by little here on NOURISH Evolution) is simply to care about the food we’re eating, not from the perspective of a gourmet chef, but the perspective of a human being.

Don’t miss, though, that by her very actions Michelle Obama is also sending a secondary message that bears voicing. Sure, children are our future . . . but we’re their role models today.

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Hey there ... I'm Lia Huber

Hey there ... I'm Lia Huber

My mission is to inspire and equip you to live a richer life through real food by becoming a more competent, confident home cook.


I’m the author of Nourished: A Memoir of Food, Faith, and Enduring Love, founder and CEO of Nourish Evolution, and the creator of Cook the Seasons, Home Cooking School, and the Real Food Reset, and I empower intentional women to cook in a way that brings them (and their families) joy, health, and ease.

Making the shift from processed food to real food doesn’t happen overnight. It’s an evolution that occurs over time, with effort, intention, and belief. And it will change the course of your life. Are you ready to take the first step? I’m so glad you’re here … and I’m honored to be with you on the journey to becoming nourished!

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Watch the video and download the customized action plan to take the first step on your nourish evolution now.

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