Soap Star Promotes Healthy Eating With Homemade Baby Food Cookbook
How unintentionally fitting and ironic that in 2000, the actress Liza Huber was named Miss Golden Globe, an honor given traditionally to a child of a celebrity by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. The award is fitting because Huber is the daughter of Emmy-Award winning actress Susan Lucci, longtime queen of the soap, “All My Children,” and children — Huber’s own — were the spur for her new career as head of Sage Spoonfuls, a company offering advice about nutritious food for babies and kids, a unique product line and a book on the subject soon to hit the media and stores — “Sage Spoonfuls: Simple Recipes, Healthy Meals, Happy Babies.” The award is also ironic because as an actress, Huber’s best-known role was as a beautiful but conniving femme fatale on the NBC soap, “Passions.” These days, Huber’s passions are promoting “the best” food — by which she means easy-to-make and good-to-eat homemade.
Of course, many books out there claim to be about healthy, nutritious and organic food — it’s a hot topic, perhaps because so many moms now are older and more educated. Huber is only too happy, however, to note what makes her book special: “Sage Spoonfuls is not about recipes or cooking on demand,” she says, but “about cooking whole foods in bulk and storing in the freezer. That way parents have a stock of healthy food available for their babies, by only spending one hour every two weeks.” Nothing time consuming, nothing fancy. Unlike other books that tend to be collections of recipes, when it does offer a recipe, includes “hundreds of yummy food combinations,” she says. And so, it’s not just learning that three pears might make one cup of pear puree — a matter of measurement — but that mixing foods, combining different ingredients, will stimulate a child’s interest to try new foods later on.
“Sage Spoonfuls” also contains pointers not typically found in similar publications — guidelines, for example, on infant CPR and choking 911 and on what foods might help allergies and acid reflux. “I’m an information hunter-gatherer,” she says.
The handsome pastel-colored photographs by Basia Ambroziak and graphic design by Clear Light Interactive Corp. ensure that “Sage Spoonfuls” is user friendly. And it’s not all about babies and children, as the section called Family Favorite Recipes attests. Huber wants to lay “a strong foundation for lifetimes of healthy choices.”
The inclusion of a product line is hardly a hustle because, as the author makes clear, how food is stored is vital. Consumers don’t realize that store-bought organic baby food is sterilized to ensure shelf life of 18 months to two years, thus adversely affecting nutrients, vitamins, taste, color and aroma. Homemade is only lightly steamed and never overcooked and most ripe fruit can be pureed without cooking. Commercial products contain additives, salt, sugar, filler and can contribute to hyperactivity. Besides, homemade is economical, especially if you have more than one child. It’s also the “green” way to go, Huber points out — no garbage of jars, lids, pouches, boxes and, not infrequently, leftovers. And here’s a sobering statement: “In 2005, the USDA Pesticide Action Program found 42 different pesticide residues on conventionally grown apple samples.”
Born and educated on Long Island, Huber attended Garden City schools and then the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studied communications. Her all-American good looks radiate in the faces of her children and her friends’ children — the real stars of the book — you can’t fake joy when an apple or orange comes your way. What triggered Huber’s passion for the subject? “Passion” — the soap, “we’re all busy, the soap had just been cancelled, she had Royce [oldest child] and was pregnant with Brendan. She wanted products that were easy to make, convenient and of high quality.
The book took two and a half years from concept to creation. Six mom friends assisted, including some who initially claimed they had no time to prepare homemade food, were not cooks and lacked information. Conversion was fast and inevitable. #
“Sage Spoonfuls” launches on September 13 when Huber will appear on “Good Morning America.” See www.sagespoonfuls.com for further information and videos.