Publisher’s note: After 11 years in business, it’s time our readers got better acquainted with the people behind the names you see in our publications. Here, learn more about Healthy Eating columnist Deborah Binder.
I have been cooking for as long as I remember. I grew up in a suburb called Clayton just outside St. Louis, Missouri and loved helping my mother and paternal grandmother cook. (My maternal grandmother didn’t really cook, but that’s a story for another time.) Food memories from my childhood are still strong and when I am cooking in my own kitchen certain smells bring back wonderful memories instantaneously. One my most cherished possessions is my mother’s recipe box containing her handwritten 3 x 5 cards. The stained cards are well-used and continue to be used by me.
During high school I was a “party helper”–helping families with dinner parties. This experience exposed me to a wide variety of specialty foods and “table manners” for fancy parties! I had to learn all about different forks and spoons as well as serving food. Good prep for later working in restaurants.
After my high school graduation, I spent almost three months in Europe using a Eurail pass and the money I earned working at a pizza parlor in an old bank building called “First Federal Frank and Crust”! You could say that I ate my way through Europe; but, luckily I did a great deal of walking and hiking to keep the pounds from creeping on. Throughout my college and graduate school years in New England, I deepened my interest in international foods and often worked side jobs for caterers. Food continued to be a theme throughout college. Luckily I was on women’s crew during college and got plenty of exercise.
My professional life was spent working in curatorial departments for art museums. I specialized in American and European decorative arts that included furniture, ceramics, glass and silver–yes, all things that are needed to enjoy the pleasures of the table!
Things were humming along in the museum world when my father died suddenly at the age of 57. His death gave me pause and I took a leave of absence from the art world. I spent a few years working in outdoor education and then moved on to become a teacher at a large yoga center in Massachusetts. My interest in healthy eating was intensified as the yoga center was completely vegetarian. Eventually I attended culinary school and worked in several high-end restaurants and bakeries in New England. When I had a child, getting to my job at a French patisserie in Vermont at 3 a.m. was challenging, so I started a specialty cake business from home.
About 20 years ago, my family moved to Edmonds and I became a non-profit management consultant. I continue to teach yoga and became an indoor cycle instructor as well (although that job is on hiatus due to COVID.) My husband and I enjoy having a large vegetable garden, which produces organic food for our meals. Eleven years ago I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and have been in remission since my treatment was completed. I use diet and nutrition as one of my tools to help with my healing process.
Eating well has always been important, and with a busy schedule my focus is developing recipes that are easy, quick and healthful. I have tried my share of “fad” diets, but I believe that eating slowly, chewing mindfully, enjoying my food and stopping before I am full has served me well. I’m not always successful, but I remember that I can do better at the next meal. I have preferences and opinions about foods, but it’s been important for me not to demonize foods. I am in the “everything in moderation including moderation” school of thought with regards to diet and nutrition.
I enjoy sharing my food experiments with my readers in My Edmonds News, Lynnwood Today and MLTnews. I would love to hear about your favorite family recipes. Best wishes to everyone during this season of eating! Remember to enjoy your holiday treats mindfully!