Going Back to the Roots of Cooking


Jane Strecker is a mother, wife, cookbook author, nutrition extraordinaire, and soon-to-be health coach, who happened to also teach the cooking class available to seniors during senior week. Her emphasis on fresh and healthier nutrition is what defines her coaching/teaching from others.

What she aims to do, is to teach families, but in particular teenagers who are beginning to become responsible for feeding themselves, to pay attention to what they’re putting into their bodies, as well as how to prepare themselves for having to live on their own in the (very near) future. She says that “it’s nice to have a good vegetarian recipe to use,” as the basis of a sauce and thus having the ability to “make a variety of different sauces.” She says that being able to make economical meals is an important factor for a university student. “When you’re living on your own and you have to cook for yourself and pay for the ingredients you need to learn how to make economical meals that you can vary and make them healthy, but then all make a bigger portion and freeze it and then use it later in the week.”

Mrs. Strecker embarked on her journey of health and nutrition at a young age. She reminisced about her childhood growing up in ‘70s Australia, where she longed for some variety from the standard Australian meal of meat and some vegetables. A recipe book published by Women’s Weekly is what sparked the beginning of her exploration and experimentation with different cuisines and variations of dishes. “I used to completely nag my mum like “can we please have this?” And she would say, “there’s so much chopping up. All that chopping for stir frys, i can’t stand chopping up.” So then i used to sort of say, well i’ll do it. If we can eat it, I’ll do it.”

From there, Mrs. Strecker wrote her cookbook “Family to Fabulous,” she describes this being a way to bring everyone back to the kitchen and to enjoy food as a family. Now in the planning stages, she hopes to create a cookbook students moving onward to living alone by not only providing simple recipes to carry out, but also “understanding the basics of cooking, why you do certain things, what happens if you don’t have an ingredient that’s listed in the recipe, [if] something goes wrong and how do you fix it.”

She has gone from experimenting with food and healthy options as a hobby, to taking a course in health coaching, where her hobby has evidently become a true passion, she says that “I think that nutrition and food is absolute basic part of our lives.” Where people really take the joys of cooking and creating a meal for granted, resorting to quick fast food options. What she aims to do, and what her aim in the cooking class during senior week was, is to make people realise that “it comes down to what people are eating, so it’s really about going back in time and teaching people to come back to the kitchen and cook from scratch, forget buying things in packets.”

Her advice for everyone trying to adjust their lifestyle into a more healthy one, is to “approach it with a relaxed attitude.” While she stresses having a healthy diet, she doesn’t want food to plague an individual’s mind. When a desire to eat something comes around, especially if you don’t eat that certain food frequently, you should allow yourself to eat it. This is something that many struggle with when their desire to change their lifestyle into a cleaner and healthier one hits a bump in the road, she says that, “you can’t live your life being ridiculously strict.” A suggestion is having a 5:2 diet: “So 5 days of the week, super good, try and be really, really smart about what you eat. And then the other 2 days, mainly the weekend for most people, relax a little bit and go out and have something you normally wouldn’t have, or have a dessert.”

The true passion for helping people and nutrition can be seen from just one conversation, and she it is evident that Mrs. Strecker will continue to be successful as she finishes her course and embarks on another stage of her career.

To see her cookbook, click here: