Amanda's Dish on Dairy: Lights! Camera! Action!

Jun 2, 2021

Shortly after starting at SLDDC, a local TV station asked for someone to come on their morning show to do a recipe demonstration. I happened to be the lucky nutrition educator assigned to take the role. With that assignment, a new world opened up for me, full of excitement and nerves!  But before my nerves could take over, my prep work had to begin.

My fellow nutrition educators helped me come up with a “theme” for my recipe demonstration (healthy Super Bowl dairy dips).  The goal was to find recipes that highlighted dairy ingredients and were simple and easy, since this would be my first time doing a cooking demonstration on TV.  We found several dairy dips that could potentially work, and then brought in the ingredients to make and test all the recipes to select the perfect dips.

Finding those recipes was a process. In fact, I have learned that finding recipes to use for any media is a process.  Your main goal is to encourage people to try a new recipe while helping them reach their three daily servings of dairy. But it is a little more complicated than just picking a recipe out of a cookbook!  You need to look at how many ingredients you are using.  (Is 25 too many?)  You need to think about the other ingredients the recipe requires.  (Does everyone have access to agave nectar?) You look at the difficulty of the directions.  (Do you really need to julienne 7 different vegetables and then pickle them before even starting to cook the main dish?)  But the main thing to consider is:  will it taste good, look delicious, and provide the enjoyment that dairy foods are known to bring to the table? In short, finding a winning recipe can be a challenge. But just because it’s a challenge, doesn’t mean it isn’t fun!  

Now, I want you to close your eyes and pretend you are me – ready to go on the big day – for just a moment. You are feeling confident because you have done all the prep work.  You have selected two dips that are delicious and easy to make. You have made two finished versions of each recipe.  You have the ingredients, plates, bowls, measuring cups, and anything else you can think of packed away in coolers so you can make the recipes live in a television studio. You have made a script with talking points and you have practiced talking and cooking several times. Picture yourself feeling nervous, but excited about this new opportunity. You and your coworker, who is there for moral support because, after all this is your first time on TV, arrive at the studio early to continue to prep. When you get to the studio, you find out that Lea DeLaria (from the show Orange is the New Black) is also going to be a guest, and will be joining you in the kitchen.  And now imagine yourself walking into the studio kitchen, pulling out all the ingredients and then suddenly realizing… you left the dairy ingredients in your refrigerator at home!!! Cue panic!

In case you are wondering if this is true, let me assure you it’s 100% accurate.  Let me also relieve your worry and let you know that my wonderful co-worker came to the rescue. She ran (literally in heels!) to the nearest grocery store to buy yogurt to make the dip. And yes, Lea DeLaria thought it was hilarious enough that I forgot the dairy that she even mentioned it on air. But in the end, it turned out great, and it was a really fun experience.

I have since done more cooking demos on this show as well as several radio stations, and the process is still nerve-wracking. While I have learned to expect the unexpected and haven’t forgotten any more dairy ingredients (or any ingredients for that matter), I still need to select the right recipe, test it, and sometimes even re-test it, depending on how much time I am given by the station. And while it can be stressful, I wouldn’t change any of it because in the end, it is dairy that is delivering these moments and memories to make me smile.

By Amanda Marsh, Nutrition Educator



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