As a member of Martha’s Circle, I was invited to participate in an event hosted by actress Jennifer Garner for Frigidaire’s Kids’ Cooking Academy, which also supports Save the Children. Alas, the event was in upstate New York, and I’m in, you know, CALIFORNIA. I’m beginning to feel like my life is a constant 2-degrees of separation from Jennifer Garner. First my dear friend Allison got to hang out with her TWICE (you can read about her fun experiences here and here), and now this event that I was invited was, well, in New York. I have such a hard life, eh? Definitely whine-worthy. ANYWAY…since I couldn’t be there myself, I sent one of my far-flung correspondents to pretend he was me. Here’s his report (which, by the way, just made me even more sad to have missed it!):
To tell the truth, life as a far flung correspondent really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. So when I had the opportunity to leave Manhattan on the hottest day of the year (so far) to visit a world-class restaurant and meet a celebrity, I was outtathere in a New York minute.
First the setting: Chef Dan Barber’s Blue Hill at Stone Barn is a localvore’s fever dream. Once a Rockefeller estate, the complex is now a self-sustaining organic farm where nearly everything that arrives at the table is grown practically right outside the door.
For the event, Blue Hill’s kitchen director, chef Adam Kaye, demonstrated three farm-to-table recipes to a dozen or so kids ranging in age from 2 ½ to six or seven. As the kids worked on crispy zucchini with parmesan, a spring vegetable salad with baby peas, asparagus and edible flowers, and strawberries with mint, yogurt, and honey, Jennifer would pitch in with the demo, or stroll along the table helping the kids out. This lady definitely knows her way around a whisk.
THIS WEEK FOR DINNER: How did you learn to cook?
JENNIFER GARNER: I grew up in a house where my mom cooked dinner every night, and I learned from her. I would help out sometimes, though I don’t think I was much help to her. Growing up that way makes it odd to pull something out of the freezer and put it on the table rather than a home-cooked meal.
TWFD: Do you cook with your kids?
JG: I do a lot of cooking with my daughter. Mornings are for baking, and she has her banana bread recipe memorized, so sometimes she’ll suggest variations, like “Let’s make it with some whole-wheat flour,” or “Let’s add some chocolate chips.”
TWFD: What are some of your favorite recipes to make with her?
JG: One thing is, we make pizza every Sunday. I got a great recipe for honey-wheat crust from Sarabeth’s Kitchen. And I got an ice cream maker as a gift many years ago. It’s so easy to make homemade! Sometimes I substitute the cream for whole milk. I like that you can control the fat, and just add any fruit you’ve got in the fridge for flavor. Also for dessert, I love Lucinda Scala Quinn’s Busy Day Chocolate Cake. I make a little 8” pan of it — so quick and easy.
TWFD: As a mom, do you make sure your kids only eat homemade from scratch?
JG: I don’t really try to restrict what they eat. I want them to know that all food is great in moderation. Some days are just junk food days!
TWFD: How did you get started advocating for children’s causes?
JG: I think it’s shocking that one in four kids America are at risk for hunger. It’s really a silent problem, because these kids don’t have a voice. They can’t rally in Washington. ‘Save the Children’ is doing such a wonderful job fighting hunger in the U.S., going into impoverished rural communities, providing physical activity, healthy foods, and 0-5 early-education programs. The difference these programs make in the vocabulary of these children is so impressive; it’s something you can’t ignore. And I have to hand it to Frigidaire, which has made a $500,000 commitment to ‘Save the Children.’ If other corporations made that kind of commitment, think of what we could accomplish.
There you have it, Jennifer Garner, my almost friend. Hope you enjoyed this little interview with her…and maybe one day I’ll actually get to meet this lady!
Visit maketimeforchange.com to learn more about Frigidaire’s Kids’ Cooking Academy. Every time you do, Frigidaire will donate $1 to Save the Children’s U.S. programs, and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a new Frigidaire Gallery French door refrigerator.