Cook Navidi is part of a two-woman cooking team (with her sister Adrienne) who travels doing cooking shows and demonstrations that focus on using homegrown ingredients. She also runs a nutrition program for young cancer patients and survivors and has written a book on the subject.
Tell us about your book, "Happily Hungry: Smart Recipes for Kids with Cancer."
It is focused on healthy recipes for children undergoing treatments for cancer. They are recipes that appeal to kids' taste buds. The reason I wrote it was because my son was diagnosed with stage three Hodgkin's lymphoma cancer at age 11, and I'm happy to say he's 19 and in college and considered cured now. Having been through this incredibly challenging experience, I found that there was no information available on the nutrition perspective on cancer and getting through treatment and for after the treatment was over ... I decided I needed to learn more about the science behind the food and write a book about it. There's a great need for this information to be out there.
One of your most recent cooking demos was on pumpkins and winter squash. What tips did you give?
We stressed the versatility of these wonderful fall vegetables. The recipes we presented explained how you could use pumpkins or winter squash or a variety of other squash.
Winter squash is a healthy vegetable, and frankly, if it wasn't included on everyone's Thanksgiving table, it should have been.
What are the biggest challenges in cooking during the winter?
We don't have access to quite the fresh bounty that the summer offers, so you have to change your thinking of what you're going to put on the table. Another thing is that with the time constraint for people, some winter foods require long, slow simmering, and people don't always have or take the time to do that like they should.