Wednesday, October 4, 2006
By JOYCE SÁENZ HARRIS / The Dallas Morning News
Emeril Lagasse is a busy man. He’s got nine restaurants to oversee. He’s got shows to do on the Food Network. He’s got cookware and other kitchen goodies to flack.
But he’s not too busy to give some thought to what his kids, and yours, should be eating.
“Whenever people say, ‘My kids don’t eat anything but chicken nuggets,’ I cringe,” Emeril says bluntly in a recent telephone interview. “I know we’re all busy, but we have to take the time to be a family at the table.”
Now Emeril has produced his third kids’ cookbook, There’s a Chef in My World! >From the subtitle, Recipes That Take You Places , it’s clear that his emphasis this time around is on the international. All the dishes are meant for parents and kids to make together.
Emeril, 46, and his wife, Alden, have a 3 1/2 -year-old son, E.J., and a daughter, Meril, who is 22 months. Emeril practices what he preaches. Little E.J. “loves edamame,” for example, so the new book includes a recipe for the popular soybeans.
But as easy as that recipe might be, most of the ones in the cookbook are not simplified for youngsters, although there are interesting tidbits and factoids older kids can read.
Other recipes include latkes, huevos rancheros, spanakopita, caprese salad, egg drop soup, tortilla soup, croque monsieur, linguine bolognese, pastitsio, shrimp teriyaki, baklava, Italian cannoli and tres leches cake. American-style classics include apple pie and Emeril’s decadent B.L.T. Hot Dogs.
“I think we take things so much for granted,” Emeril says. “From a food perspective, we don’t take the time to educate and teach. And it all starts at the top, with parents. Just explain to a child what couscous is, for example, or take a simple taco and tell them where it comes from.”
The way to get kids interested in food, Emeril believes, is simply to involve them in choosing and tasting new flavors, new dishes. Let an older child choose one healthy food to put into the grocery cart, he suggests. Or let the kids take turns choosing a restaurant for a special family meal. And, Emeril pleads, make it a restaurant that doesn’t have “choices limited to burgers, awful pasta with red sauce, and chicken or fish strips.”
Back home in New Orleans, he’s been more than usually burdened for the past year, working on behalf of his city and reopening his three restaurants in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He’s got Emeril’s and NOLA going, and Emeril’s Delmonico is in the works.
“Staffing and housing have been the problems,” Emeril says. “But to me, it’s important to make people smile. I’ve poured my heart and soul into New Orleans, night and days, these last months.
“It’s home. And slowly, we’re coming back.”
B.L.T. HOT DOGS
8 hot dogs (organic all-beef recommended)
8 regular, thin-cut bacon slices
8 iceberg lettuce leaves
8 hot dog buns
1 cup diced tomatoes (2 small tomatoes)
Position rack in center of oven, and preheat to 375 F.
Wrap each hot dog with a slice of bacon, tucking both ends under. Place hot dogs on a small baking sheet, and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until bacon is crispy and well browned. Remove from oven and set aside.
Stack lettuce leaves on top of one another, roll up tightly and slice into thin, ribbon-like strips.
Place 1 hot dog in each bun and top with diced tomatoes and lettuce. Serve with mustard and mayo or other condiments, as desired. Makes 8 servings.
PER SERVING: Calories 403 (61% fat) Fat 27 g (9 g sat) Chol 40 mg Sodium 1,126 mg Fiber 2 g Carb 26 g Protein 13 g
Source: There’s a Chef in My World!
There’s a Chef
in My World!
by Emeril Lagasse (HarperCollins, $22.99)
(c) 2006 The Dallas Morning News Co.