‘Scratch’ Cookbook Author Maria Rodale Shares Her Joy of Nourishing Her Family

Organic food advocate Maria Rodale focuses on simple ingredients, simply prepared, and simply delicious in her new cookbook

Crispy Brussels Sprouts

“Yeah I know my surname is Rodale and you might think you know what kind of food I eat. You night even judge me without knowing the truth, I’m used to it.”

This quote comes from Maria Rodale’s new cookbook, Scratch: Home Cooking For Everyone Made Simple, Fun, and Totally Delicious. Rodale, heir to the one of the nation’s largest independent publishing houses, Rodale Inc., is known for her business and advocacy of healthy living. (Rodale Inc. publishes books and print magazine such as The South Beach Diet, Men’s/Women’s Health, Running, and Prevention, to name just a few.) Interestingly, Rodale grew up on America’s first official organic farm in Pennsylvania and has published a number of organic-food-specific books.


Through her own journey of learning to cook and preparing food for her daughters, Rodale started her food blog Maria’s Farm Country Kitchen in 2009, and finds pleasure in cooking for others. In her introduction, Rodale writes, “I don’t cook because I have to, I cook because I want to and because it’s the most intimate, nourishing and primal pleasure I can give my family and myself.”

In her new cookbook, Rodale focuses on the simple: simple ingredients, simply prepared, and simply delicious.

Rodale was kind enough to share a number of her simple recipes with The Daily Meal including her Slow 'N' Crispy Mac 'N' CheeseChicken CacciatoreCrispy Brussels Sprouts, and a gorgeous No-Cook Summer Tomato and Mozzarella Pasta. We were also able to catch up with the busy author to ask her a bit more about her new book; keep reading below for more.


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The Daily Meal: What is your philosophy of cooking?

Maria Rodale: My philosophy of cooking is that it should be simple, delicious, easy, and nourishing. And the best way to do that is to use real ingredients (preferably organic) and to cook from scratch.

How did it inspire the recipes you chose to include in this book?

The recipes in the book were all things that I love to eat: Family favorites and comfort foods that I either make again and again or for special occasions. I also included a few things that I wanted to learn how to make. But I always start with the question, "What am I hungry for? What am I craving?" Then I try to figure out how I can make it as easily and deliciously as possible.

What is your favorite recipe in your book?

Roast chicken and pan gravy — because it's so delicious and I love to eat it! But it's also a reflection of my journey as a cook. In the beginning, I was intimidated and afraid and thought I had to "do" all these things or I wouldn't be good enough — brining, basting, trussing, stuffing, spatchcocking, adding all sorts of elaborate ingredients. I tried everything! And ultimately ended up with the simplest thing of all: Take a good organic chicken and stick it in the oven. That's it; nothing more.
It. Tastes. Amazing.
Then you take the carcass and make bone broth (for centuries just known as broth) and suddenly life is complete.

How do you hope readers will use this book?  What do you hope they take away? 

 I hope they use it every day like I do because honestly I still can't remember half my recipes and have to look them up. I hope they will take away the confidence to know that they can cook; it's super easy and delicious, and it's the most satisfying way to eat.

Is there anything else you would like the share?

This book is good for people who have never cooked. But it's also good for people who cook a lot and just want to try a new, simpler approach. Most importantly, you have the power to change the world, your life, your family, and your soul by what and how you cook in the kitchen.