French Fridays with Dorie: Food Revolution Day

For the past several years, the French Fridays with Dorie crew has joined in on Food Revolution Day.

You might ask "what is Food Revolution Day?" Well...
Mardi, fearless Food Revolution Embassador and ardent Dorista is spearheading the groups efforts (along with hosting events in Toronto) provided the following commentary:

"Friday May 15th 2015 is the fourth annual Food Revolution Day – a day of global action created by Jamie Oliver and the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation to engage and inspire people of all ages to learn about food and how to cook it.

This year, Food Revolution Day is a global campaign to put compulsory food education back on the school curriculum. Jamie passionately believes that by educating children about food and cooking in a fun and engaging way, we can equip them with the basic skills they need to lead healthier, happier lives, for themselves and their future families.  Dorie agrees – last year when I was chatting with her about food education, she said:  'I would love to see a generation that can cook and wants to cook for themselves and others.  The world would be a better place.'

With overweight and obesity statistics increasing at an alarming rate, and preventable diet-related disease claiming more lives earlier than ever before, it has never been more important to educate children about food, where it comes from and how it affects their bodies. Food Revolution Day is about getting kids food smart and setting them up for a long, healthy life."

That is a message that we should all be able to get behind, no?

Realizing that it might not be practical for all of the Doristas to host cooking events, Mardi instead challenged us with a post theme. The theme for this years FRD post is: "Tell us, what did Dorie teach you over the past four years?" We were encouraged to share a recipe or technique from Around My French Table that we think is a "must now".

Talk about open ended questions. No pressure. No pressure at all.

If you asked me what was the one recipe from AMFT that I thought every person should know how to make, it would have to be Roast Chicken for Les Paresseux (Lazy Man's Roast Chicken - recipe in second link), hands down. A roasted chicken can serve as a centerpiece of a dinner for company, can form the basis of several other meals - and if you are feeling especially frugal, it can be the base of a delicious soup stock. Best of all, it's easy to prepare.

Now that I've shared my "must know" recipe, I would like to talk about the technique from AMFT that has had the most impact on my cooking activities.

When I started to think about what I wanted to say for FRD, one thing kept popping into my mind. It wasn't that awesome roast chicken or the cauliflower or potato gratins (both repeaters in my house) or even the dreaded recipes - like salmon in a jar and sardine anything.

No. It was something totally different.

All throughout AMFT, there are little sidebars titled: bonne idée. And those little sidebars are filled with suggestions for "playing around" or changing up the recipe. Now, I know that I *might* have a bit of a reputation for going rogue on recipes (aka not following directions); however, all kidding aside, I do believe that if we want to encourage people to get into the kitchen and cook meals that enable them to live a healthy lifestyle, it needs to be made an environment that facilitates that activity. This means that as we work with our children, friends and families to foster the "cooking bug", we need to do it in a manner that meets them where we are at.

Cooking should not be a punitive activity. There needs to be room for people to adjust their menus and techniques based on skill set and preferences. If you don't like raisins, leave them out. If veal is not your thing, do some research and find another alternative. Having that little bit of freedom instills confidence in the kitchen and keeps people cooking.

My youngest daughter went through a culinary vocational program when she was in high school and spent a lot of time with me in the kitchen during her high school years - I wasn't sure whether or not any of it sank it at the time... When she turned vegetarian, she realized that she needed to take a more active role in the preparation of her own meals. When she first started out, she would scour on line recipes and cookbooks for food ideas and would constantly request that certain items be picked up so that she could make a meal. Over time, as her confidence increased, she became better at looking in the refrigerator/ cupboards and pulling together a meal out what was already on hand. There are some days, I am actually kind of jealous of her meals.

As parents, we only get so much time to pass along those things that we value to our children. The sooner we get them started on a path to a healthy lifestyle, the more likely it is that they will continue to make those choices.

Not even hurricanes will keep them from sourcing ingredients for a home cooked meal!

After a hard day of play, it is important to refuel!

This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie. Tune in next week - we are cooking the cover of Around My French Table (and the final recipe - sad face).


  1. I love the bonne idees, too! And you made great use of them (and I think you invented a few of your own ;))!

  2. Yeah yeah the bonnes idées all the way (and yay for roast chicken!!) XXX

  3. Those bonnes idées are quite revolutionary! And I agree that a good roast chicken is something that should be taught to every young person. Its easy and basic. Enjoyable from the first go. And yet we will spend our lifetimes trying to perfect it. Like golf.

  4. Great post, Cher! I agree all the way - cooking does not need rules, and every carnivore should know how to roast a chicken (and Dorie's recipe is just so good). Also: Pinterest + Cher = Whaaa? (falls out of chair :) )

  5. Hear! Hear! What a great food philosophy. And, you have not only talked the talk but walked the walk. When I first joined FFWD I would see every week how many of you would "go out on a limb" (that's what I call it) and put together something that I wouldn't consider in a million years. You, my dear, were the worst! (BTW, that's a compliment.) As for me, I would stick to the recipe, never wander.......until I did. It's only been in the last 6 to 8 months that I stuck my big toe in the water and gone off course. Not such a bad thing. Confidence does that. Glad the Culinary Kid has this already. It took me years. She's darling.

  6. Roast chicken is always a winner! I am not as skilled as your daughter at pulling meals together from what is around.

  7. I agree with you that the Roast Chicken for the Les Paresseux, is a dish that everyone should know how to make. It is the one recipe that has been repeated many, many times in our house! An easy delicious meal!
    Great post, Cher! Happy Friday! See you next week!

  8. I had to stray a lot due to seasonal differences, but you, my dear (as Mary would say), seem to enjoy it, jaja! Playing around is the best way to learn, about food and about so many other things. Good weekend Cher!

  9. Love your post! The best thing about this whole project was learning to
    improvise with what you have on hand. When I started, it was running out to buy each and every item Dorie called for, and then, I thought so many things didn't work for us and what can I substitute instead. That is what Dorie was aiming for, I am sure. This Food Revolution Day was fun.

  10. Wonderful observations, Cher! The bonnes idées and all of the experimentation and variation along the way really make up the heart of cooking. That, along with Dorie's demystification of even the most complicated dishes. So good that your vegetarian kid is going out in the world with the skills to adapt any flavour or cuisine to her needs.

  11. I love this post, Cher! Ah, the bonnes idées. If there was only one thing I read beyond the recipe on any given page, it was the bonne idée. I also think that's what's fabulous about Dorie--that she sees the infinite variability of these recipes and gives us a little nudge for doing so (something that does not come naturally to me as it does for you!). Loved the story about your kids, too. :)

  12. Love the pictures. I made the potato gratin for a party and it was a big hit. I still need to try the cauliflower gratin. I agree with your sentiments on sardines:)

  13. Cher - such a well-written post and I agree with you on so many points that you have made and you certainly did a marvelous job installing your love of preparing food and baked goods in both your children. And the Chicken recipe is certainly one of the recipes that all children/students should know.
    I saw that you used your Nordic Ware baking pan for those Nutella Buttons - I do not really have the time right now to participate in that group but I did make the recipe yesterday afternoon and the kids loved it so much - I will pull out my Nordic Ware pan (that also never gets used enough) and make those Buttons again - thank you for the inspiration!

  14. Delightful! Love your post!!


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