We all need to know how to cook. I can buy a chicken and have many meals come from it. Is it affordable? Yes. Cheap? No. I want to pay the farmers the right price for food. They deserve it. They are the most important people in the country besides our teachers.
Food can be very transformational, and it can be more than just about a dish. That's what happened to me when I first went to France. I fell in love. And if you fall in love, well, then everything is easy.
My mother made a lot of things because she thought they'd be healthy for us. There were some very unfortunate experiences with whole wheat bread and bananas. I always tried to get rid of that sandwich and eat one of my friends' lunches.
I once had an Early Girl tomato at my friend Jay's house, and I thought that was the best thing I'd ever had. But then I visited friends in Senegal, and I ate sea urchin pulled fresh out of the sea. It tasted like the ocean.
Hard-boiled eggs are wonderful when they're really done right. I bring the water to a boil, and then I put in the eggs. And then I boil them for - well, it depends on the size of the egg - maybe eight minutes.
I think America's food culture is embedded in fast-food culture. And the real question that we have is: How are we going to teach slow-food values in a fast-food world? Of course, it's very, very difficult to do, especially when children have grown up eating fast food and the values that go with that.
You do need some dispensation for local farmers, because the fast food industry will promote the unsanitary conditions of farming. With vegetables, you have to be careful where they come from; you have to know the farmers and trust them. If you buy from the farmers' market, it's already been investigated.
I just hope Americans come to understand that food isn't something to be manipulated by our teeth and shoved down our gullet, that it's our spiritual and physical nourishment and important to our well-being as a nation.
A whole set of values comes with fast food: Everything should be fast, cheap and easy; there's always more where that came from; there are no seasons; you shouldn't be paid very much for preparing food. It's uniformity and a lack of connection.
If I've gone to the market on Saturday, and I go another time on Tuesday, then I'm really prepared. I can cook a little piece of fish; I can wilt some greens with garlic; I can slice tomatoes and put a little olive oil on. It's effortless.
Create a garden; bring children to farms for field trips. I think it's important that parents and teachers get together to do one or two things they can accomplish well - a teaching garden, connecting with farms nearby, weave food into the curriculum.