Cooking with Myra: Kevin Roberts The Food Dude

Sept. 20, 2011 at 4:20 a.m.

Veggie Lasagna Rolls

Veggie Lasagna Rolls

By Myra Starkey

When I was a new mother, which was about 25 years ago, I tried very hard to introduce healthy eating to our children.

I was the kind of mother who cooked broccoli, carrots and other green vegetables and then food-processed these into a kind of green goo, which I froze in ice cube trays and then served as baby food. Back in those olden days, before the Internet, when people used libraries and bookstores for knowledge, I perused cookbooks for baby food recipes.

I wanted our children to develop healthy bones and brains and was determined to inconvenience myself if necessary to make it happen. Lest you think of me as a mother earth type, which I only aspire to be, I bought my vegetables at the grocery store instead of actually growing them. And there wasn't an organic section back then.

My point is that I did my best to provide healthy meals. At least I think I did it for our first two kids. By our third child, I think I just mushed up whatever the rest of us were eating.

As the kids entered elementary school, I drew faces on bananas to entice them to think it was a cool fruit, but they ended up trading that novelty item for cookies and candy.

In junior high, they begged for me to serve normal food to their friends and not pasta with vegetables or anything else green.

They craved pizza, burgers and hot dogs. A special request was chili mixed with fritos in the bag, known as a frito pie. I usually gave in, but secretly hoped that I had fortified their muscles during their baby years.

By high school, I was willing to prepare anything, as long as they would take the time to sit down and eat at the family table.

There were nights when we simply could not be together at the same time because the kids had so many different things they had to go to. Meals were reheated, or sandwiches made, but still those evenings sitting around the table are some of my treasured memories.

Volleyball, tennis, football, friends . all of these competed for our children's attention. I knew one day they would be on their own, so I tried to teach a solid foundation of "good things for you," and hoped they would later make the right nutritional choices.

On Sept. 29, the Victoria College Lyceum Series hosts The Food Dude, Kevin Roberts. He is coming to Victoria to speak to students and others about eating healthy.

Roberts will kick off the 2011 series by presenting, "How to Survive College by Staying Healthy."

The lecture will be at noon on that day in the VC Student Center. Kevin is the author of two cookbooks, "Kissing in the Kitchen" and "Munchies." The latter is a cookbook which gives college kids "food freedom" with recipes that are cheap, simple, tasty and healthy. He believes that there is more to cooking than complicated recipes and expensive ingredients.

He currently is traveling to more than 20 college campuses around the United States to show students that it is cool to cook and not just eat fast food or dorm food all the time. He will host cooking demonstrations and share his food with the audience.

Roberts has an interesting life story. He was raised by a single mom who worked in restaurants in Los Angeles. He began cooking at the age of 8, and to quote him, "It was either cook or starve."

He credits his mom with helping him achieve culinary fame. With wit, humor, good looks and great talent, he has made a name for himself in the food world.

He's appeared in more than 100 national and local television shows, including "The Today Show" and now hosts the network TLC series, the "BBQ Pitmasters." He is owner and executive chef of four sports bar/tavern concepts in San Diego, Calif. Roberts was also a Top Ten finalist on "The Next Food Network Star."

I received a copy of "Kissing in the Kitchen," a cookbook about preparing food with passion. For example, his first recipe is called "Frisky Frittata." The recipes are simple with the use of basic ingredients and no more than six steps. I prepared Veggie Lasagna Rolls because the picture in the cookbook looked so colorful and appetizing.

If you have the time, try to make it to this talk and demonstration at noon Sept. 29 at the college. It should be both entertaining and informative. Tickets are available at Victoria College. Please limit five per person.

Tickets are required for the event, which is presented by the Victoria College Lyceum series.

For more information, please call 361-582-2417 or email

Myra Starkey lives in Victoria. Write her in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901, or email



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