Whether she's showing families how to make budget-friendly dinners or understand the power of a family meal, Comfortable Gracious Mom on the Street Melissa d'Arabian's practical hospitality shines through.
Melissa d’Arabian is a New York Times best-selling author, mom of four, and a go-to expert on affordable and healthy family home cooking. With an MBA from Georgetown University, Melissa enjoyed a successful career in corporate finance and strategy before becoming a stay-at-home mom and then competing on and winning season five of Food Network Star. She soon became well-known for her Food Network show Ten Dollar Dinners and her cookbooks Ten Dollar Dinners and Supermarket Healthy. Her third book, TASTING GRACE (published by Waterbrook at Random House) explores the intersection of food and faith and is available now.
Which three words best describe your style? Comfortable, navy blue, easy
What are your favorite places to shop? If I had to say where I have the most clothes from, it would have to be a toss-up between Target and Costco. (I am definitely not fancy!)
Who’s your favorite culinary icon? I am loving Michael Twitty and Bryant Terry these days! Both of their books – Twitty’s The Cooking Gene and Terry’s Vegetable Kingdom are brilliant, and I love to learn something about someone’s soul when I learn about a recipe. Even my daughters love their books (even though I do the cooking usually).
What’s your best cooking advice? Let God shine through.
What's your most essential cooking appliance or utensil? My Vitamix blender.
What's an underrated food/meal idea that people should try? Bean burgers. You can mix almost anything into some smashed beans with a little egg and panko and turn it into a super tasty, inexpensive meal.
What food trend should NEVER make a comeback? Weird foams. I should say: never for me. Some folks loved foams.
What fashion/style did you love at the time, but now cringe when you see old photos? Gunnie Sax dresses.
What’s your best style secret? If you aren’t super fashionable, then dresses are a great option because you don’t need to worry about mixing and matching separates well.
Stilettos or flats? Not just flats. Flip flops. Flat flip flops.
What’s your favorite way to spend time with your family? Around the dinner table. Best connection time ever.
What’s been your best family vacation? We got last minute cheap flights to Cancun a couple of years ago, and it was just an amazing time of relaxing and drinking fruity drinks on the beach and playing volleyball on the sand.
Best parenting advice: It goes fast, so don’t wish any of it away.
What’s your go-to family dinner? DIY Grain bowls. I set out bowls of roasted and raw veggies and grains and sauces and toppings and everyone makes their own bowl.
What are your best tips for dealing with picky eaters? Eat dinner a half-hour earlier. Kids are way more open-minded when they aren’t tired.
What’s your favorite family restaurant? Buona Forchetta – an Italian restaurant here in Coronado that makes the best wood-fired gluten-free pizza ever!
What’s your favorite show to binge-watch? Our family just finished New Girl and is watching Glee and The Office at the moment. My husband and I are watching Call My Agent, a French show on Netflix and it’s my very favorite because it captures life working in Paris perfectly. I wish it could go on forever.
If you could pick anyone to star as you in a movie based on your life, who would it be? Jessica Phillips. She plays Heidi Hansen (Evan’s mom) in Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway. Her opening number, "Anybody Have a Map?", is the deepest, most heartfelt ode to parenting I’ve seen performed. I would want that captured in any portrayal of my life.
What’s your favorite cookbook? The Silver Palate.
What song would you dance to when nobody’s watching? Anything by Queen.
If you could eat a meal with anyone from history, living or deceased, who would it be? C.S. Lewis.
What’s at the top of your travel bucket list? The Maldives. Oh, also a South African safari.
What’s your favorite way to unwind at the end of a long day? Watching a movie snuggled up with my family on the couch.
We love Melissa's fun and casual approach to life, style, and food. She really understands the healing power of a good family meal, and we'd be thrilled to take a seat at her table any time!
Be sure to connect with her and get some amazing recipe ideas on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Food Network, and her website. And if you're looking for a perfect Christmas gift, be sure to pick up a copy of her newest book, Tasting Grace.
For more fun and stylish moms, be sure to check out our Mom on the Street page!