TRACEE YABLON-BRENNER, a mother of two, is a registered dietician, holistic health counselor, and owner of Nutrition Is Healing. She lives in Haworth, New Jersey.THE AUTHOR SCOOP
How did Simple Foods For Busy Families come to be? My co-author Jeanette and I met at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck NY and hit it off immediately. We realized we both had just graduated from the Institute For Integrative Nutrition but had never met before. I suggested us writing a book to educate people about the importance of eating real food, and soon after returning home, the Institute For Integrative Nutrition announced they were starting a contest where the two best proposals would get published. Jeanette and I wrote a proposal, and much to our surprise, we were chosen and our journey began. What's the farthest you've ever traveled? To Israel. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the Middle Eastern food.Do you eat your vegetables? Yes, and through writing Simple Foods For Busy Families I eat a lot more green leafy vegetables on a regular basis. My children have tried more vegetables and enjoy many, including cauliflower, collard greens, and kale. Their favorite is broccoli.If you had a superpower, what would it be? To make people realize that cooking is fun and that cooking real healthy food makes a huge difference in how you feel on a regular basis.What was the hardest thing about writing a book? Taking a leap of faith and believing in the concept of the book. Also, it was a challenge working from home, being an active mom, and balancing the many different life situations as they came up. What did you want to be when you grew up? I always had a fascination for food and healthy eating. I was lucky enough to have a relationship with my great grandfather who left Russia as a young man and became a chef. As a little girl, I remember enjoying time preparing and eating stuffed cabbage with him. That began my passion for preparing high quality food.
JEANNETTE BESSINGER is a mother of two, holistic health counselor and educator, and owner of Balance for Life, in Newport, Rhode Island. THE AUTHOR SCOOP
What was the hardest thing about writing a book? The hardest thing about writing Simple Foods for Busy Families was being in a busy family! Because of an unusual constellation of events, we actually moved three times in the three years that we worked on this project. It really brought home the incredible challenges we working moms have to cope with in this day and age just to support our families with healthy, home-cooked food and consistent routines. What's the oddest meal you've ever had? I have a vivid memory of going home for dinner for the first time with my college boyfriend, who was Japanese. As we walked through the foyer into his house, his mother, backlit by the late afternoon sun, opened the stove door and removed an entire octopus from the oven! It was stuffed into a baking pan and came out steaming, tentacles spilling out over the sides. I was utterly horrified. By the time it made its way onto our actual plates, however, it was thankfully unrecognizable as an aquarium escapee. It tasted phenomenal—delicate, chewy-crunchy and extremely exotic.Any unusual hobbies? Lately, one of my friends had to learn some circus arts to fill in for a clowning instructor at a performance camp. She brought some of the props over one night and my family got hooked. I bought some juggling balls and devil’s sticks and am now working on my skills during writing breaks. Next I might try the spinning plates…Name the most horrifying dish that your mother used to make. My mom was very into the trends of the 70’s and periodically, she would dabble with vegetarianism. Her early experiments with tofu were pretty tough on us allshe didn’t have the slightest idea what to do with it. It was supposed to be a “meat substitute,” right? So for a southern-raised woman, that meant you should heat that sucker up and slather it in grandad’s barbecue sauce. Eek!Do you eat your vegetables? I refuse to eat beets or eggplant, and I will always pick out any big pieces of onion. I do, however, love all things green. Late spring/early summer is my favorite time of year because it means I’ll get to eat the beautiful and exotic lettuces, kale, collards, and bok choy from our local farmers markets every day. And I am not above harvesting the young leaves right off the lawn dandelions before mowing time…