The Healthful Hedonist: Comfort Food for the 21st Century

Welcome to the Healthful Hedonist

Simple. Savory. Sustainable.

Wednesdays on Mama Cooks.

Welcome to my new column, The Healthful Hedonist, born from everything I learned while writing The Dinner Diaries: Raising Whole Wheat Kids in a White Bread World, my book about how and why I got my family to eat better. This column is where "healthy," "thrifty" and "hedonist" all collide at the dinner table.

The Healthful Hedonist is based on three facts:

First, I have the palate and passion for food of a professional food writer, restaurant critic and recipe developer with more than 16 years of experience.

Second, I am a concerned mom who dreams of a better world not just for my own children, but for all children everywhere.

Third, I want it all.

So I'm embarking on a culinary quest. I'm in search of comfort food for the new millennium. I need recipes that are delicious but also affordable, healthful, sustainable and simple, because while I may have the exacting standards of a restaurant critic, sadly I have the talent, time constraints and budget of a home cook. Have I set myself an impossible task? We'll see.

I have to try, though, because the most important thing I learned while improving my family's diet was that, despite evidence to the contrary, our children listen to us; unfortunately, Gandhi was right. We do have to be the change we wish to see in the world. If we want our kids eating kale, we have to eat it first. And enjoy it. As much as we may crave shortcuts, or at least I do, they don't exist. But the good news is, and I speak from experience, this strategy of persistently serving healthy food works. Not for every vegetable with every child every time it's served, but enough to give me hope, and my family a new way of eating. It's also enough to make other people's children hurl my book across a room in rage, but I don't mind being the fall guy if that's what it takes.

Life may be imperfect but it's also a gift. I intend to unwrap it one gorgeous recipe at a time – even if some days, I'm the only one biting.

I hope you'll join me.

updated: 8 years ago


mollyMonday, March 15th 2010 8:55PM

Well, hot diggity!  I bought and read your book a few years back when it first came out, and loved it.  (All of it, though the boxing ring bit at the very beginning remains my favorite).  What fun to find you here, to be able to say thanks, and great book!, and I look forward to following along on your quest.  (Oh, and for the record?  I believe absolutely it's possible to eat well, in every sense, in our kiddo-filled homes.  In fact, I think it's the best place, the only place.)


Is it too soon in our relationship to profess my love for you? Seriously, thank you so much for writing. And I completely agree with you. It's not just about what we eat, but about who we eat it with.

Thank you, Molly!

you are back!Saturday, October 17th 2009 9:21AM

and better than ever! I'm so psyched for insightful realism in the cooking world.

Thank you so much! You're better than ever too, whoever you are, I'm sure of it.

felix ungerWednesday, October 14th 2009 10:31PM

Looks great.  In my opinion eggs are unfairly maligned as a protein source.  They also happen to pair wonderfully with more 'healthy' foods.  Maybe someday you'llbe able to enjoy a softer egg?

Yes, I love them runny, I just messed up. Happens all the time.


Black KaleWednesday, October 14th 2009 9:34PM

Where did you find this vegetable in the Boston area? I have seen green kale but not black. Thanks. I am looking forward to trying the recipe!

It was at a farmers' market and at Whole Foods. I hope you like it!

MarlissaWednesday, October 14th 2009 8:58PM

I'm so happy Mama Cooks is back. Wednesdays just weren't the same without you!

Thank you!!!

RuthWednesday, October 14th 2009 8:37PM

I've never tried black kale, but your picture and writing make me look forward to it.  So glad you'll lead the way with this great new column, and I'm looking forward to finding more ways to include hedonism on my 'to-do' list!


SherylWednesday, October 14th 2009 3:03PM

This would also be good if you scrambled up the eggs and put them on the kale.

Agreed - fried would be good too. Fried is always good.

KathleenWednesday, October 14th 2009 3:02PM

This looks totally delicious! I am in!

And easy too!