Sunday, May 16, 2010

5/17 - Catherine McCord, Cherie Kimmons, Tracey Ryder, Ivano Toscani

Catherine McCord - American fashion model - actress -  television program hostess Is Kid-Friendly, Parent-Approved  Busy parents around the world can now rejoice. Weelicious (, the brainchild of actress, model, and mom Catherine McCord, provides a solution to parents’ hectic lives by showing them how to cook recipes that are kid-friendly, quick, and nutritious. Since Weelicious launched in October 2007, Catherine has been offering innovative ideas and instruction for delicious meals that are “easy, fresh, and fun.” Bolstered by a culinary background and a passion for food, Catherine makes cooking accessible using few, but fresh ingredients. Recipes appeal to a range of ages – from infants starting on solid foods to school-age kids and adults. “As a parent, you don’t have to be a short-order cook preparing four different meals for four different family members,” she says.  Through, and her growing international audience on Facebook and Twitter, Catherine is sharing what she’s learned through extensive research and experimentation in her own family kitchen. Yummy recipes like Baked Maple Bananas, Red Beet Hummus, and Pumpkin Waffle Sandwiches that quickly became hits for her kids, promptly became popular with parents as well on her website. With a new recipe or tip debuting daily and how-to cooking videos posted every Friday, Weelicious is a wealth of information for parents, and a visual delight for foodies of any age.  Weelicious is a realistic approach to quick, nutritious eating with unedited videos of cooking demos featuring – who else? – Catherine, her 3-year old son, Kenya, and 1-year old daughter, Chloe. Unlike other kid-friendly cooking sites, Weelicious focuses on educating kids and involving them in the process. No cheap tricks, sneaking or hiding pureed veggies into the usual kid-fare like mac and cheese – a trend that has become popular and concerns Catherine. “Our philosophy is to be honest, and include and engage your kids in the kitchen,” says Catherine. “Do this, and you will undoubtedly see a change in their eating habits, particularly if they are picky eaters.”  Catherine’s kids aren’t the only family members on board. Her husband, Jon, a film producer, “didn’t know how to cook a thing when we met,” Catherine says only half jokingly. He now credits Catherine with instilling in him a passion for cooking and a desire to treat food as an art medium. “Painting can take weeks,” she laughs. “Food is instant gratification.”  In addition to recipes and videos, Weelicious, with the help of a licensed nutritionist, provides resourceful information about organics, food groups, vitamins and minerals, potential food allergens, and tips on engaging reluctant eaters.   Growing up in Louisville, KY, Catherine credits her parents and grandparents for her early understanding of the impact food has on our health and well-being. Cooking and enjoying healthy, delicious food was a priority for Catherine’s mom, as was sharing this philosophy with her children. “I also learned a lot from my grandparents about respecting food,” says Catherine. “Gardening, composting, canning, shopping at farmer’s markets; these are traditions I’m now passing along to my children.”  A born athlete, Catherine excelled at running and basketball, and was working towards an athletic scholarship when she got a devastating hip injury. Soon after, when a friend signed her up for a local modeling contest, little did Catherine know that this would be the first step on the path to a successful modeling career.Discovered by Elite Models Management at 15, Catherine went on to win “Look of the Year,” Elite’s premiere and prestigious modeling contest. From there, she spent her summers in New York or Paris, modeling for Victoria’s Secret, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, and other prestigious designers in the fashion industry. Catherine soon ventured into television, as well, landing roles as reporter on Extra!, Dick Clark’s Rocking New Year’s Eve, and a run as co-host on MTV’s Loveline with Dr. Drew and Adam Corrola.  Fortunately, Catherine avoided the pitfalls many young models find themselves in, such as drug abuse and eating disorders, attributing her success to a strong sense of family values, and an understanding about what she needed to give her body in order for it to function properly. Her parents supported her modeling career and grounded her with guidance. Catherine’s dad encouraged her to save her money so that she could one day afford to focus on her true passion – cooking and food.  That time came in 2002, soon after the devastating attacks of 9/11. Impacted by the tragedy, Catherine decided to finally follow her dreams and enroll at the Institute for Culinary Education in Manhattan.

Tracey Ryder "Edible"
A gorgeous full-color celebration of America's local food heroes and traditions, Edible is for anyone who cares about delicious, safe, sustainable food being cultivated and created every day by people in our own communities. The book offers engaging, inspiring profiles of farmers, artisans, chefs, and organizations that are making a difference, and shares eighty seasonal recipes that highlight the very best local foods across the country. Ryder and Topalian, cofounders of Edible Communities Publications, a network of 65 regional food magazines that honor place-based food, cull the best of the best Edible articles to create an inviting and rewarding collection celebrating local food and sustainable food systems around the U.S. and Canada. With 150 striking color photos, the book is a feast for the eyes, mind, and palate. Divided into geographic regions, it shares success stories and profiles of remarkable individuals and businesses in each, from Boston's Allandale Farm, the last working farm in the area, through Phoenix's gentle giant chef Greg LaPrad, to Seattle's Lummi Island Wild Preserves. We learn about Richmond, Va.'s Belmont Butchery and its Old Fashioned Charcuterie, Missoula, Mont.'s Le Petit Outre bakery, and southeastern Michigan's Calder Dairy. Each story provides a perfect balance of inspiration, delight, information, and gratitude that such operations and artisans still exist. The authors also include a tasty array of recipes, organized by season, including Aspen tri-tip roast; collard tops with parmigiano; and double corn spoon bread. With the recent growth of the slow food and locavore movements, this well-timed book is a welcome and vital contribution to the ongoing challenge of sustainability.

Ivano Toscani - GM Anchor Bar - Buffalo, NY
On a Friday night in 1964, Dominic Bellissimo was tending bar at the now famous Anchor Bar Restaurant in Buffalo, NY. Late that evening, a group of Dominic's friends arrived at the bar with ravenous appetites. Dominic asked his mother, Teressa, to prepare something for his friends to eat.  They looked like chicken wings, a part of the chicken that usually went into the stock pot for soup. Teressa had deep fried the wings and flavored them with a secret sauce. The wings were an instant hit and it didn't take long for people to flock to the bar to experience this new taste sensation. From that evening on, Buffalo Wings became a regular part of the menu at the Anchor Bar. The phenomenon created in 1964 by Teressa Bellissimo has spread across the globe. Although many have tried to duplicate Buffalo Wings, the closely guarded secret recipe is what makes Frank & Teressa's the proclaimed "Best Wings in the World."  President Barrack Obama recently visited Buffalo on business and when to the wrong wings location - Ivano tells us what happened.

 Cherie Kimmons - "Potluck Survival Guide"
Potluck Survival Guide, a light-hearted handbook for beginning and experienced cooks, helps frazzled parents, volunteers, event chairs and novice hosts feed the masses while keeping their sanity. Author Cherie Kimmons, who has spent years in the cooking trenches, helps readers prepare all-time potluck favorites for school, athletic, scouting, band, social and church events. Featuring kid-tested and approved recipes (with modifications for adult palates), the guide includes a unique section of in-depth recipes that serve as a starting point for endless variations. It also explores considerations for feeding young children and athletes, buffet strategies, decorating tips and fun menu ideas. Kimmons brings to the table years of experience as a humor columnist, aerobics and nutrition instructor, parent volunteer, and baseball mom. Her Italian and Cajun-French background, populated with remarkable family cooks, adds a little spice to the mix.