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Be a Better Cook

Cooking With Deborah Fewell

TLC's Home Made Simple host Deborah Fewell opens up about eating and cooking clean.

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Clean Eating: What’s your goal on the show?

Deborah Fewell: Basically the gist of Home Made Simple is friends helping friends. A lot of the mothers we encounter juggle making sometimes three different dishes for one mealtime. I teach them how to make one dish that pleases the whole family. So, it’s up to me to help them with what they feel is a burden and to make it easier.

CE: Do you ever touch on how to incorporate the rest of the family into the cooking?

DF: Yes! I love working with children. Even with my clients, I have children who come into the kitchen asking, “How can we help you?” So, I’ll give them little jobs. I’ll just pull out the herbs or spices that I want them to use and walk them through it. It expands their palate and makes them excited about what they’re eating. I like to get them in the kitchen, just so they get a working knowledge of how things work in there. For example, if I’m making pasta or bread, I’ll have them measure flour for me or mix the eggs and get them involved in the process.

CE: What does clean eating mean to you?

DF: My experience with clean eating has come from working with celebrity clients who have to get their bodies in order. Your body responds when you give it clean proteins and vegetables while cutting back on fat and salt. We all enjoy rich foods every now and again, but when you’re trying to get your body to respond in a certain way, you have to cut back on certain foods and eat clean.

CE:Do you have any go-to quick clean meals?

DF: Roasting your vegetables or searing meats, instead of frying, are great ways to eat clean. When I think about clean eating, I think about citrus juices or vinegars to add flavor. Spices and herbs are also crucial, especially if you’re cutting back on salt. When herbs are used in tandem with spices you get even more flavor.

CE: Is there an herb that you feel is often overlooked that people should try?

DF: Definitely. Mint can be used in so many different ways but it’s really compartmentalized. When most people think of mint they think lamb, but you can use it on green beans, carrots, chicken, even in salad dressings. Dried mint is also very thin, so even if you use it as a roasting ingredient, it will just meld in and not be crunchy.

CE: Many people are intimidated to ask questions at the farmers’ market or grocery store. Do you have any shopping strategies?

DF: Don’t be afraid to ask the purveyors how something is grown or raised. They are knowledgeable about these things and can offer you a lot of information. Ask them, “If you were to cook this, what would you put on it?” Oftentimes you don’t know how many ways you can use a food in its fresh state until you ask.