Feasting with Your Heart, Eyes and Belly

Mr. Cool Moms is a great cook and is one of the few people that I have seen converts the daily eating routine into a true pleasure.
Invited by Transitions Lenses who sponsored the 2013 South Beach Food Wine Festival, we attended the Fun and Fit event at Jungle Island.
It was hot and of course, being in Miami a beautiful sunny day!  So we were grateful for Mr. Cool Moms new Transitions Lenses glasses which were put to the test of blocking those harmful UV rays and protecting his eyesight.  Well this task, honestly went unnoticed as, of course, what he immediately perceived was the adaptive feature of the lenses: clear indoors and outdoors continuously adapting to the light variations.  Like a kid he would go under palm tree shade, in and out of the Transitions booth, stand under the sun, and go indoors to gauge the changes of the lenses. 
What really stands out for him is the clarity with which he sees everything now, and how bright the world has become.
This beautiful bird mesmerized him with his colors, and the felines' furs just busted at him with their spots and stripes.

Being the foodie that he is, and his good eating date (me), we were looking forward to meeting Chef Ana Quincoces, who is a spokesperson for Transitions Lenses along with Chef Robert Irvine. 

Let us tell you about Chef Ana:  growing up in a Cuban household in Miami, she was her mother's sous chef, learning  all the details about Cuban and Hispanic cuisine.  Of course, she was given the traditional recipe book on Cuban cuisine.  As she later in life used the book often, discovered that it was not easy to follow.  Interested in teaching her own daughters, she took to the task of writing her own cookbook: "Cuban Chicks Can Cook" Followed by "Sabor! A Passion for Cuban Cuisine". She was voted Miami's hottest chef, contributes to newspapers,  and appears on TV (also ex cast of Miami housewives), is a practicing lawyer and works advocating for different important causes for children and against diabetes.

Here are my favorite excepts of our conversation with Chef Ana:
CMCT (Cool Moms Cool Tips): Sweet or Savory
AQ (Ana Quincoces): My perfect dish is sweet, savory and with a little bit of heat, but if I really had to choose I would go for Sweet. I am a sweet person.

CMCT: Your favorite recipe from Sabor! a Passion for Cuban Cuisine
AQ: Arroz con Pollo and Ropa vieja, just because they are my favorite foods. (rice and chicken and shredred beef) but all the dessers as well.

CMCT: In Spanish there is a saying "Love begins with the stomach"  This Latin focus on food and the importance of gathering around the kitchen also begins with your eyes, what are your thoughts on this?
AQ: It begins with both!  You cook with love for those you care for, and when you make something special for them you also serve it with care, so presentation is also the key to win hearts over.  Cooking itself is how we show our love for others.

CMCT: Are colors important in food?
AQ: Absolutely! if you are trying to eat healthier, you will find richer colors in fruits and vegetables which translate in important intake of elements.  Beta-carotene, for example.  When you sit to a place, the fist sense that can appreciate it is your sight, then your sense of smell and finally your sense of taste, so making it appealing to your eyesight is important. The more vitamins the brighter the food is.

CMCT: What is the main difference the traditional cookbook and your first one?
AQ: I don't think there is much difference.  I made sure my recipes are the traditional one, and not fusion. Maybe it is that the stories in my book are about growing up in a Cuban household.

CMCT: Any tips for parents with picky eaters?
AQ:  Make sure they are a part of the process, cook with them. Not only will the enjoy the time with you in the kitchen learning something, but also they will dispel fears of trying new things or strange looking food if they know what is behind it.

CMCT: Finish this sentence for us: the ideal meal is......
AQ: My perfect meal is one that I prepare with family and friends. Made with those you loved, and enjoyed together.

Chef Ana is currently working on a third cookbook that will come out soon!  Mr. Cool Mom not only enjoyed our interview, discovering a warm, down to earth person, passionate for her profession, but also agreeing with her in the love that food becomes in our lives and the importance of  looking after the health of our eyesight to truly savor every one of life's moments with all of our senses.  Remember most things start with what you see.

We encourage you to make sure your family's eye health is in order, and to share and amazing time around the table with your loved ones.  We are getting ready to do just that, starting by cooking together, as Chef Ana suggested
This is part of a sponsored campaign with Latina Mom Bloggers and Transitions Optical. I was provided with a complimentary eye exam and pair of eyeglasses to test for the purpose of this campaign. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

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