A Bizymoms' Exclusive Interview with Jorj Morgan
1. You are one of the most recognized food experts. What encouraged you to become a food specialist?
I grew up helping my grandmothers in their kitchens. This foundation provided the experience for raising my own family. We bond together over food. We share our stories, solve our problems, celebrate our triumphs over shared meals. Helping other busy mom’s create this foundation for their own families, led me to my passion of writing and teaching about cooking.
2. Healthy eating is a top priority, but a picky eater can drive a mum crazy, what do you do?
Be SNEAKY!! Start with something that he loves and sneak the good stuff into it. Place finely chopped, cooked broccoli under the cheese on his pizza. Stir sautéed cauliflower into his mac and cheese, roasted eggplant is wonderful in meatballs. You can hide ANYTHING in his smoothie. Eventually your baby will want to try new things. Above all, set a good example. He won’t eat a salad if you are munching on fries!
3. How did your books come about?
I had complied (and compiled) recipes over the years. When my oldest son went off to college, he encouraged me to put the recipes into a book. He sent me information on recipe writing, drafting a book, finding a publisher and marketing. We set up a website, and all of his college buddies from across the country “tested” my recipes. By the time he graduated from Northwestern, I had published my first cookbook.
4. You are a mother and a grandmother, what aspect of your life is the most fulfilling?
I am blessed with a wonderful husband, three absolutely fabulous sons, a terrific daughter-in-law and two BEAUTIFUL grandchildren. I love every minute of every day and love those moments even more, if I’m spending them with my family. But the absolute truth is….. everything that “they” say about being a grandmother is correct. It’s a BLAST!!!!!
5. Pre preparation is an essential, what do mothers need to do in order to sit down to a family dinner?
Make a list….a shopping list and stick to it. In order to get to that list, you have to have the following:
An organized pantry and fridge. Keep foods that you bake with together on one shelf. Keep canned goods on another shelf. When a can or a box is missing, write it down on the list. The more organized you are, the more money and time you will save when you shop.
Plan your meals and purchase what you need on your shopping day. Buy a chicken for Sunday supper and use left overs on Monday’s chicken and veggie quesadilla. If you plan your meals, you will spend less time driving around after work or school looking for ingredients.
Do as much food prep on shopping day as you can. Clean, wash and dry lettuce and place it into re-sealable bags. This way you will have lettuce for salads every night of the week!
6. How can you get kids interested in nutritious food?
Get rid of the junk! Keep healthy snacks available and easy to grab. Make a shelf in the fridge for nutritious snacks and make sure the shelf is at eye-level so that it is the first thing your child sees when he opens the door. Keep fruit and healthy snack bars on the counter.
7. What are your future plans?
My new blog is about to go live at www.jorj.com. I’ll be able to have more direct contact with my readers and offer new, fresh recipes every few days. I’m also pursuing cooking classes and demonstrations and perhaps even video cooking lessons.
8. How do you keep yourself fit?
I walk several miles every morning – rain or shine. I’m lucky to have a pal that goes with me and we chat – a lot. I eat whatever I want, in moderation. I don’t believe in dieting, but I certainly don’t gorge. I eat only fresh, whole foods and avoid most processed food. If I want a cookie, I bake a batch using the best ingredients. Then I take the extras to a neighbor or coworker and share. It works!!
9. What are the food essentials you have in your pantry cupboard?
I stock the pantry with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, chicken broth, San Marzano tomatoes, anchovies (fabulous heated with garlic and served over steamed broccoli), semi-sweet chocolate bits (for those cookies I was telling you about…), rice and pasta, dried and canned beans, flour, sugar and oats to bake with and way, way back in the corner you might just find an open box of Teddy Grahams from the babies’ last visit.
10. Can you tell us more about your work in charitable organizations?
Since my oldest son went to pre-school, I have been involved in charities raising funds for schools, museums, symphonies and disadvantaged children. I have found it to be a very rewarding experience. I have learned through these experiences. I have made my best friends working for common causes. I have honed my craft working on numerous fund raising events.
Most recently, I organized a fundraiser to benefit the Humane Society in Avery County, North Carolina. We created a “Furry Feasts” event. Several hostesses opened their home to generous guests for themed dinners. My dinner was an Alfresco Sunset Supper. My gal pals and I cooked a six course dinner and served it to over 50 guests over 2 evenings. It was a lot of fun and the guests were thrilled to participate.
I highly recommend that everyone finds time in their busy schedule to volunteer and share a little bit of herself for a cause. The rewards way outweigh the efforts.