Cookbook author says feeding her family home-cooked meals not negotiable

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Lucinda Scala Quinn is a devoted cook who believes that the way to her four males' hearts and stomachs is to provide them with homemade meals.

"I have an incredibly robust home life which is really male-dominated," she says of her husband and three sons, aged 15, 18 and 22.

Lucinda Scala Quinn is a devoted cook who believes that the way to her four males' hearts and stomachs is to provide them with homemade meals.

"I have an incredibly robust home life which is really male-dominated," she says of her husband and three sons, aged 15, 18 and 22.

But she is not a stay-at-home mom. Scala Quinn is vice-president and editorial director of food and entertaining for Martha Stewart Omnimedia. She also appears regularly on NBC's "Today Show," as well as hosting "EatDrink" on Martha Stewart Living Radio and co-hosting "Everyday Food" on PBS. She and her family live in New York.

"Around the time when I started having kids, I made a conscious decision that I wanted to cook ... fresh food for them," she says, "and I found it's a very simple step to peace, harmony and wellness" in the household.

So she is sharing her strategies and recipes in her fourth cookbook, "Mad Hungry: Feeding Men & Boys" (Artisan, $39.95). She also provides survival techniques for bringing back the family meal. Scala Quinn says that many women don't think they have time to prepare home-cooked meals.

"What they are missing isn't just the pleasure of being at the table with people you value, but their health is at stake and their pocketbook is at stake.

"I maintain it takes just as much time to order pizza, to pick it up or wait for it to be delivered and it's just as expensive, even the crappy pizza," she says. Scala Quinn adds that "in the same amount of time if you regard your time a little bit differently, you can do the same thing that is better for less money, and it's healthier."

She says that by relying on processed packaged foods, "we are heading into a pretty calamitous situation."

"We have taken the power of our nourishment away from our homes and we have given it over to factories and machine-processed foods," Scala Quinn says, "and all the signs are conspiring to tell us we need to pay attention to where your dollars go.

"You can't control the world, but you can control what is going on in your home and that is where you have to start."

Here is a recipe from her book.

Shredded Sauteed Cabbage

This sauteed cabbage slaw retains some texture and has none of the sulphury taste and mushy texture of cabbage that's been improperly cooked.

22 ml (4 1/2 tsp) vegetable oil

1 medium onion, sliced

1 tomato, chopped

1 piece (2.5 cm/1 inch) fresh ginger, peeled and minced (optional)

1 ml (1/4 tsp.) crushed red pepper flakes

1 small head green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced (about 2.5 l/10 cups)

7 ml (1 1/2 tsp.) coarse salt, plus more for serving

Heat a 36-cm (14-inch) skillet over medium-high heat, and then add oil and onion. Saute to soften onion slightly, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomato, ginger, if using, and red pepper flakes. Cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Add cabbage and salt. Stir to combine. Cover, reduce heat to medium low, and cook, stirring occasionally as the cabbage begins to collapse.

Add a little water, 30 ml (2 tbsp.) at a time, as needed if the cabbage becomes too dry. Cook for about 13 minutes or until cabbage is just tender. Season with salt to taste and serve.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Organizations: Martha Stewart Living Radio

Geographic location: New York

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