Inside the Fridge welcomes RobinsBite intern Leah Wakefield. A North Dakota native with Egyptian roots, Leah was raised on a healthy Middle Eastern diet in the midst of Midwestern cuisine. After receiving her Bachelor’s in International Business at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Leah spent two years teaching English at a private university in Honduras. Astonished by the lack of nutrition and health-related education among her Honduran students and co-workers, she began incorporating nutrition and dietary education into her lesson plans. Today, Leah is a single, young professional working with a Houston-based creative agency and is making plans to attend graduate school to obtain a degree in nutrition and dietetics. She’s always looking for excuses to cook for others!
Below we ask her questions about her grocery shopping and food habits – with actual pictures from her fridge!
Inside the Fridge: Where do you shop for food?
Leah Wakefield: I love Central Market and Whole Foods. Both stores have incredibly fresh produce and specialty items I can’t find elsewhere. Whole Foods makes “eating healthy” easy, and shopping trips are always educational. Unfortunately I can’t afford Whole Foods all the time, so it’s sort of an indulgence when I do drop by.
ITF: Do you love food shopping or dread it?
LW: I absolutely love food shopping! I spend a lot of time sampling, reading labels and analyzing prices. It becomes more of an experience than an obligation.
ITF: How often do you shop?
LW: Once a week, although I’ll usually drop by the store midweek for fresh bread and berries.
ITF: What is the oldest item in the fridge right now?
LW: An old bottle of chardonnay that I’ve been saving for a Fettuccine Alfredo sauce.
ITF: Do you believe in leftovers?
LW: I’m usually cooking for myself, so I almost always end up with leftovers. They’re great for busy days, particularly when I’m not in the mood to cook, but you won’t catch me eating leftovers after two or three days.
ITF: What convenience product can you not live without?
LW: Peanut Butter! It’s my go-to for breakfast, snacks, and desserts. You’re more likely to see me sitting in front of the t.v. with a jar of peanut butter than a pint of ice cream.
ITF: What food/s are important when recalling food memories?
LW: My mother is Egyptian and an amazing cook. I grew up on hummus, pita, tabbouleh, kobeba, and baklava for dessert. As a kid, my friends never wanted to eat over, because they were not accustomed to the Middle-Eastern flavors that my mom incorporated in almost every meal. They are now singing a different tune.
ITF: When you hear the word “homemade” what is the first thing that comes to mind?
LW: Baklava. I remember watching my mom carefully butter each layer of filo dough, sprinkling just the right amount of nuts and spices and baking the pastry to a golden, piece of perfection. Her secret ingredient is love, and that you can taste!
ITF: How have your cooking/shopping habits changed over the 5 years?
LW: I eat healthier, fresher foods, and I cook a lot more. In college, my can opener and microwave were my most used kitchen utensil/appliance, and my pots and pans were dust collectors. Thank goodness that’s no longer the case.
ITF: What was the last meal you cooked from scratch?
LW: I just made an easy black bean and tomato quinoa and it was delish. I found the recipe on Epicurious.com.
ITF: What words of wisdom or advice do you have for other folks who are doing their best every day to fill the fridge?
LW: Eat close to the ground. Aim to fill your fridge with at least 50% fruits and veggies and you’ll find yourself reaching for mother nature’s dessert more often than not.
Thank you Leah!
And please contact Leah if you would like to be featured on Inside the Fridge. Her email is Leah *at* robinplotkin *dot* com