In keeping within the spirit of making great meals for the family, I approached our very own Chicago Mom and asked her to share how she came to be MOMMA! Johanna Cook, of MommaCuisine, tells us some things that will hopefully inspire you to feed that family right!
How did you come to be a proponent quick easy meal planning?
A: I think, like many of us, by force! Cooking is very different when you’re single versus when you have children. You have to learn how to be quick! But because I spent my entire career in the restaurant industry, I saw that even fine dining restaurants used simple everyday ingredients (for the most part) and turned them into wonderful dishes. I realized that I had the tools right at home to make amazing and quick meals.
What life lessons can you share from doing so?
A: Cooking has taught me many life lessons. One is learning not to throw anything away – not take anything for granted. Even a simple ingredient can be made into something amazing. Another is learning to work with what you have. Of course I want steak and lobster! But what I have in the fridge at the moment in ground beef and catfish. So, work with what you’ve got, be thankful, and make it great! ☺
What do you see #MCShowLIVE doing for the community?
A: I imagine, and hope, that #MCShowLIVE becomes a hub for busy moms (and dads), even those who aren’t parents, to find great recipes that will empower them to make “Great Everyday Meals” for themselves. I also pray that I can connect viewers with people who might inspire them through the guests and segments. Lastly, I want to connect brands who I believe in to help viewers & consumers make the best out of their life and situation.
I see #MCShowLIVE becoming a fun and quirky (since it’s my personality) show, with real information that people can use for themselves and families.
What sets you apart from other foodie gurus?
A: The word, “foodie” can sometimes have a negative connotation. Some people perceive it to be exclusive, elitist, or pretentious. I think what sets me apart is that I’m a typical, woman, and mom in here thirties, who’s trying to do the best she can as a person, as a parent, as a business person, as a friend and wife. I happen to love to cook and pretty good at it. But, I always enjoy, and love to learn from other’s, because that’s what cooking and life is all about! Plus, I’m not trying to sous-vide a duck here. I talk about “Great Everyday Meals”. Food that your children and friends will remember for years to come. Nothing wrong with upscale food, in fact I love it. But it’s just not the way I cook…and I think there are hundreds and thousands of people just like me out there. Hopefully, they can relate to me!
What are your top five fave meals?
A: Oh my! This is such a hard question as I love so many kinds! Not sure about actual meals, but I love Indian food. Even just the smells remind me of my grandparents house. I immediately remember my grandfather sitting on the dinner table shaving his face with an old school razor blade in front of a mirror, while an old Western movie with John Wayne played in the living room, and my grandmother making a traditional Indian feast in the kitchen adjacent. Gosh, those memories make me cry. I love how food can transport people into an exact place and time.
Of course, I also love Filipino food. That is my soul food. I crave it, I live it. It’s very special to me. And since I’m married to an African-American man, well, traditional soul food is just amazing to me. I’m nailing my Black-Eyed Peas recipe. My hubs loves it. I’m always watching his facial reactions to see if he‘s lying. The eyes can’t lie! I think he likes it, he says he does! He doesn’t know I add a splash of soy sauce in it. LMAO~!
I just love any food made from the heart. It’s true what they say, you can really taste it! Compare a national chain’s food to a “hole in the wall”, family owned joint and you’ll know exactly what I mean.
What are your thoughts on canned versus frozen versus fresh?
A: You know what? I don’t hate it. Frozen veggies and fruits are great when they’re out of season. Even frozen peas are sometimes better than fresh because they’re picked at their peak, their best. Canned beans are great for quick weeknight soups and stews. Of course, nothing beats fresh. I have tons of fresh veg and fruits in my fridge right now that the kids pummel through.
What I don’t like are canned and frozen pre-made foods. Those I hate. They are packed with preservatives, sodium and so many other things. We stay away from those as much as possible. But I do like Spam. Sorry, but I do!! I grew up eating it! Oh, and frozen dumplings and lumpia (egg rolls) – those are so time consuming to make from scratch. Those I almost always by frozen.
We can find Johanna a.k.a MOMMACUISINE “LIKE” her on Facebook and be sure to tune in for #MCSHOWLIVE October 9, 2012 on MommaCuisine.com