A Quick Bite With Yolanda Edwards

A Quick Bite With Yolanda Edwards

Do you still keep dog-eared copies of Cookie Magazine beside your bed? Me too. It was such a sad day when I heard that Conde Nast was shutting it down (at the nadir of the recession many fine magazines met the same fate). Many parents who loved their approach felt the same way. Don’t you find so much of what’s aimed at parents looks like it’s actually made for kids? So I was thrilled to hear that Momfilter, launched earlier this year, was putting Cookie founders Pilar Guzman and Yolanda Edwards, back in my life. It’s a very cool site. Full of parenting information you really want, it’s that perfect combination of stylish and smart. I was thrilled to catch a few moments of Yolanda’s time this week to talk about kids who will eat oysters but not bananas and the triumph of getting dinner on the table.

Q: What is your earliest food memory?
A: Hmm, my mom was not much of a cook – between being a vegetarian back when that meant eating mostly brown rice, millet, and TVP (texturized vegetable protein), and not really having an interest in it, the food she served was pretty tasteless. I guess my earliest food memories are more just trying to find a way to get through the meal without gagging too much. Seriously.

Q: How did you learn to cook?
A: When I was in high school, I had a dear friend whose parents were really into food. They actually used cookbooks and got excited about meals (a brand new concept to me), and brought me to my first taqueria in the Mission District of San Francisco. I watched them and tried to absorb their enthusiasm as much as I could, and really that was my starting point. When I spent some time in Italy during college years, I learned how to cook pasta correctly.

Q: Do you still cook family recipes?
A: My dad’s mom was  a war bride from England, and she loved the idea that you could have vegetables with butter ready to go from a plastic bag, and my mom’s mom wasn’t that far off from that, so there aren’t any in the family repertoire. Ironically, my brother is a fantastic private chef, and has worked in some of the best  restaurants in the  country. (Let me say right now that I won’t be forwarding this interview on to my family!)

Q: Does your daughter cook with you?
A: Yes, Clara loves to be in the kitchen. She’s a great sous-chef, to both my husband (who truly does most of the cooking) and me.

Q: How do you deal with pickiness (if that’s an issue in your home)?
A: Luckily she isn’t that picky, with the foods that most kids are, that is. She doesn’t like apples or bananas, but she likes kale and oysters.

Q: What do you wish she’d eat that she won’t?
A: I wish she would eat bananas–it would make breakfast smoothies much easier.

Q: What are the rules of your dinner table? (Clean your plate? No dessert until you’ve eaten your veggies? Elbows off the table?)
A: We ask her to sit down all the way in her chair and to keep a napkin in her lap. We don’t usually do dessert after dinner, since we generally eat on the later side so we can all eat together. Dessert usually happens on weekends or as an afternoon snack. We aren’t clean plate club people, but we ask her to only take what she thinks she will really eat.

Q: Do play good cop or bad cop when it comes to snacks and treats for your family?
A: I’m more the bad cop, or the ‘debbie downer’. When she wants something that has ingredients she can’t pronounce, I start to get preachy, and then she and my husband both sigh. I try to not be like that all the time, especially since I was the kid who had a paper route primarily so I could have pocket money to buy myself Hostess fruit pies. And Now-n-Laters.

Q: Do you feel any pressure to have a “good eater” since you are a parenting expert?
A: First, I don’t think I’m a parenting expert! I am so happy that Clara is a good eater, but I know that really has zero to do with us.

Q: What’s your go-to meal on a busy weeknight?
A: A simple marinara pasta with a poached egg on top. And some steamed broccoli for Clara. Wine for me, water for her.

Q: What do you like best about cooking?
A: That I am actually doing it–that I managed to get the shopping done, to plan ahead, and that my family enjoys it. It’s a personal little victory moment.

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1 Comment

  1. Emma
    June 09, 10:40 Reply

    It was a sad day for me when Cookie closed it’s doors. Thrilled to hear there is a website where I can find something similar. Off to check it now.

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