Shivani Vora is the quintessential city girl who lives in Manhattan’s Upper East Side with her husband Mahir and her two-year old daughter Meenakshi. Though her full-time job is as a journalist, her side passion has always been cooking healthy food at home (after all, she has to look good in her 7 Jeans) so that when she goes out to the fantastic restaurants the city is known for or when she traverses the globe to locations like Morocco, Italy and Africa for work or pleasure, she can sample multiple menu items, even order dessert, and enjoy each bite without a second thought.
While Mahir, who loves a hearty meal as much as the next man, was skeptical when she first started experimenting with low-oil cooking and revamping his favorite foods like lasagna and tacos, he quickly became a loyalist when each dish she presented exceeded his expectations. He too became a believer in the Tablespoon of Oil philosophy.
Her love of cooking clean and healthy became even stronger when Meenakshi was born in 2008. She saw all around her that parents fed their kids differently from what they ate; children were given bland pasta, chicken nuggets or pizza while grown-ups tended to tuck into takeout. She was determined not to prepare different meals for every one of her family members and knew that there were plenty of foods she could make that Mahir, she and Meenakshi would all enjoy together just as she’d done with her parents while growing up in India.
So far, it’s worked! On most days, Meenakshi eats spicy curries, pungent stir-frys, chicken marsala, a simple grilled fish or just about anything that’s put in front of her, Mahir feels “filled up” with something substantial as he calls it, and Shivani has eaten a healthy meal that lets her indulge when dining out and helps her fit into her skinny jeans.