Together At The Table

 

Written by Barbara Shepherd in the November 2005 Issue

Jennifer Eve’s New Syndicated Series Focuses on Family
No stranger to a microphone, television personality Jennifer Eve rarely speaks into a mic at fast-food restaurants to order a quick dinner for her family. She contends that when we eat that kind of non-nutritious and calorie-laden foods, our families pay the price. “Childhood obesity is an epidemic,” Eve says, and she is determined to do something about it!

Cooking meals is not always given the priority it deserves these days and some people are intimidated when they step into a kitchen. “They simply do not know how to cook. The art of cooking is becoming a lost art,” Eve says.

She quotes George Bush, “Families can help secure a healthy tomorrow for their children by providing guidance, staying involved, and serving as role models.” Eve feels fortunate that she had a good role model when her stay-at-home mother cooked nutritious meals. Now comfortable in her own kitchen, Eve says she learned to cook by watching her mother. But not all mothers can be at home today or find the time to cook.

Jennifer Eve’s mission is to bring families and friends back together at the dinner table to talk and laugh, to share memories and make new ones. But how can a busy parent prepare healthy meals for all those hungry people gathered around the dinner table?

Enter Together at the Table, a new syndicated series for TV, produced and hosted by former award-winning news anchor Jennifer Eve. Its focus is to encourage families to eat at home more often and to teach viewers how to cook quick but healthy meals. Joining Eve in this project are Lanell Olson, a registered dietitian and nutrition instructor, and Jerry Hart, an Emmy award-winning producer. Other impressive honors and awards for this team are listed on their newly-launched website: www.togetheratthetable.com

Each segment of News 9 Together at the Table airs on Oklahoma City’s KWTV during its Wednesday Noon News and repeats on the Sunday Morning News.

Viewing herself as a “full-time career person and a full-time stay-at-home mom,” Eve has found the best of both worlds.

As an Edmond resident with her husband Mark Fish, two delightful children, about thirty fish, guinea pigs Sweetie and Angel, the cat Victoria and Fabulous Frasier the Sheltie, Eve is busy meeting deadlines. She owns Jennifer Eve Media, Inc., teaches a Polishing Your Performance journalism class at UCO and volunteers for her children’s school functions. How does she accomplish all of this?

Planning is key for Eve, but it’s her two-fold passion that keeps her on track. She wants to take the fear out of the kitchen so others can cook healthy food for their families and continue the tradition of sitting down at the dinner table.

“Families are so disconnected,” Eve says, noting several studies that demonstrate the positive effects of families dining together. The old-fashioned activity of eating family meals has been shown to increase communication and social skills and to improve nutritional dietary intake. Multiple research studies also attest to reducing the risks of adolescent smoking, drug and alcohol abuse, depression and suicide – all influenced by the frequency of family meals.


Sitting on the kitchen counter as a little girl while her mother chopped onions and celery is one of Eve’s fondest memories. That time spent talking with her mother and years of sit-down family dinners made an impact on Eve who doesn’t want to see the dinnertime ritual disappear. She wants her children to continue this tradition, to pass it on to the next generation, and the next, and she hopes others will do the same.

Women have worked outside the home for decades now and some customs have been put on the back burner – where the pan of roast used to simmer. With a new awareness of how easy it is to cook, a collection of recipes from Together at the Table addresses the problem of finding the time to cook. Eve’s desire to “pass down the art of cooking” could revive (or start) the traditional evening meal for many households.

Tradition is evident in Eve’s home where her family dines together six or seven nights a week – every week. Daughters Elizabeth, eleven, and Olivia, nine, help set the table, turn on soft music, light candles, and sometimes assist in the kitchen – the same kitchen seen on TV.

The girls will appear in several segments of Together at the Table. Besides learning how to cook, they also know how to eat healthy foods. Elizabeth says, “There’s always something mixed in with the vegetables; they’re not just plain.” Olivia says, “We have salad every night.” The girls say it’s true that their mother stops by for fast food – about three or four times a year!

How does one get children to eat vegetables like that? If parents serve a variety of vegetables on a regular basis, children are more likely to taste-test vegetables new to them and may find they actually like them. Broiling or sautéing vegetables, instead of boiling or steaming, can change a food’s texture and may make it more palatable for a novice epicurean. An easy way to introduce new vegetables is to add them to a soup or stew. Or, prepare a recipe in a slow cooker that makes a whole meal: meat, vegetables and sauce.

Jennifer Eve’s favorite meal is “anything Mediterranean” and her favorite dish is Mediterranean Chicken. As for preparation, she loves to make soups.

Improving nutritional health could be reason enough for eating family meals together. But when the simple act of dining together at the table could produce so many other benefits, how can one not throw something in the Crock-Pot® in the morning before going to work and schedule the time to sit down with family members in the evening?

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