Mom to Mom: Tessa Kiros
At first glance, "Apples for Jam", the new cookbook by Tessa Kiros, tugged at my heart strings with it's cover photo depicting tiny red Mary Janes. The author's introduction was so touching that it brought tears to my eyes. Unlike any other cookbook, this one is organized by color and there is page after page of stunning photography, precious memories and favorite recipes passed down through generations from family and friends. It is the only cookbook I've ever sat down and read from cover to cover. Leafing through it's pages was like a peek into Tessa's heart. Her love for her children is palpable. She has captured the beauty of family, and the meals and moments we all share in the most extraordinary book I've ever seen. It is a feast for the soul!
It's May! And I'm honored to introduce you to this beautiful being. Meet Tessa...
Mom: Tessa Kiros
Of: Yasmine (age 9); Cassia (age 7)
1. In what ways has becoming a mother changed you?
Becoming a mother has changed me in many ways. Mainly I think, it has
shown me how attached to life I am. It has made me more fearful in certain
ways - less risky, that I may think twice now before for eg. planning a trip to a country that needs extra vaccinations. Maybe I am more level headed for now at least while the kids are young.
2. What is one tip you would like to share about mothering?
I think its important to remember how very quickly it passes. And that you can't do it over. So give the pips all you can now.
3. Your cookbook, "Apples for Jam" is visually breathtaking and has a painterly quality, do have another creative outlet in addition to cooking?
At the moment, the books have taken a lot of my time. They involve a lot of everything - maybe other reading, collecting props, planning, recipe testing etc. It is a lot of work but very much worth it. My books are incredibly satisfying. My friend and graphic artist Lisa, who lives in Canada, is incredibly talented and directs us. It is important I feel to have integrity throughout the books. Stylist and photographer (who live in Greece and also lifelong friends of mine) as you can see are amazing and we all love working together which I think comes across in the books. I also enjoy gardening and I used to love sewing and making a few clothes here and there.... and travel, also a creative side no? Collecting inspiration like none other.
4. How do you find time for creativity?
I think by following through on a job that needs to get finished...no procrastinating. When these are done - then there is time to do more. But when you are hanging around immobilised with a long list in your mind...of things you should do/things you would like to do - I find it
confusing and then nothing gets done properly. There - I love to make lists. I love crossing off the things done. Somedays when I don't have much on and the children have a long day - I like to walk around the city (Florence or Siena), looking in shops, having beautiful coffees and bits and pieces here and there... and getting inspired.
5. Your Cookbook is very different than any other cookbook I've ever seen. It is organized by color, what inspired you to create it?
I just woke up in the middle of the night once while I was working on the book and got up and wrote it down COLOURS and went back to bed. I LOVE it in colours. I was looking for that. The primary thing that appeals to children, to adults. It is such fun I thought, so silly in some ways, yet so very serious. The message is - follow your gut, have fun....give time to the things that are really important...and as the book says at the end....its the memories that really make you rich.
6. I understand one of your children is a vegetarian. Please share with us a little about that and how you prepare a family meal for meat eaters and non.
My oldest daughter (now 9) decided to stop eating meat at age 5 - when she discovered that animals are killed to be on your plate. She didn't touch meat or anything for more than a year. And I was very honest with her when she asked me if something was killed. If I said yes - she wouldn't touch it. She now eats some meat (loves barbecued meat and things, but if she sees a drop of blood won't touch it....but she has never gone back to fish ever. She cannot do that when she has fish as 'pets' she says. So for example...tonight I am making a spaghetti al pomodoro. Then my youngest daughter Cassia is having a sole in the pan with butter and lemon - she loves this. Yasmine will have an omelet. Quick things that can be done in the pan. I have a steak for Giovanni which I will cook in the fireplace. A watercress salad. Some chestnuts roasted there too for all of us. A great red wine for us which I brought back from Greece and want to try. A bottle of organic lemonade for the kids. A mix and match really - that sounds like it could take you the better part of an evening - but actually I think it will be 10 minutes total. Soups in winter are a great way to get over this separation. A big pot of soup that everyone can have, and then a couple of choices for after.
7. Lastly, what moves you, grounds you, fills your well?
Watching people do their thing well. Seeing the world working together. Traveling to new places. Getting to the end of the day and feeling like things with my family went very well today.
Tess, thank you for reminding us not only to savor every bite, but also every moment shared with family and friends!
Have a good weekend, everyone!
(Yes, I really am awake at this hour)