What’s the hardest part about navigating parenthood and the demands of your career?
Time! Is there ever enough time? Both working from home and having unconventional, and often lengthy, hours, make my career and life balance challenging. I have to get creative and make family a priority. I’ll let me kids help me in the kitchen or on photoshoots. Sometimes, my daughter even appears in videos with me. Making them a part of the business makes it a little simpler. I also travel, and it can be hard to miss special “firsts” or time with the kids. Sometimes, I’m only gone three days, but when I return, I feel like they’ve grown up by months.
What makes trying to balance both easier for you?
Having a great support network. Our immediate family doesn’t live close, but they do their best to visit frequently and help with the kids and house. Thankfully, we have great friends, a dedicated nanny and the kids’ school that also make it easier.
What do you love the most about being a parent?
Watching them develop and grow. I sit back and look at my kids in awe that we’ve created them. The moment when something clicks or they learn something new and they are so proud of themselves is pure joy. The other day, my daughter came home nonstop talking about the stages of a tadpole to a frog. It reminds me that sometimes the simple things are lost on adults.
What’s your biggest parenting fail?
Luckily, I don’t have any huge fails (yet), but I think every parent can relate to ending a day, looking back and realizing they could have handled or done something better, or just plain differently, and had regrets. I try to learn from them.
How do you believe your work with Savory Experiments helps other families?
I hope to encourage families to spend time together in the kitchen, enjoy eating together at the dinner table and not view cooking as a chore. Instead, everything from prep to eating can be fun and a great way to connect with your kids regardless of their age. It also encourages kids to eat new foods. Of course, our children love hot dogs and mac and cheese, but they generally eat what we cook ourselves for dinner, and if they’ve helped prepare it, they are proud and eat it, too.
What do you hope your children will learn from you when they grow up?
A good work ethic. I still believe that hard work and determination pay off and that you can do whatever you want in this world if you put your mind to it. If you told me 10 years ago that I would be a food writer, publishing cookbooks and appearing on television, I would have thought you were crazy. I went to school to be a therapist and worked many years in mental health and substance abuse disorders at Sinai Hospital. I also spent time teaching at CCBC. I started to write for fun and never dreamed it would blossom into the career it is today.
Editor’s Note: Jessica Formicola is the author of “Beef It Up! 50 Mouthwatering Recipes for Ground Beef, Steaks, Stews, Roasts, Ribs, and More” (Story Publisher, 2022). Look for her cookbook wherever books are sold.
Family: David (husband), Vivian (4) and Thomas (2)
Family meal: New York strip steak and homemade mac and cheese
Book to read together: My kids read “The Night Before Christmas” year-round.
Way to spend a weekend with your family: It’s either a fun-filled trip to Target or traveling.
Family vacation spot: Any place with a beach (or the “bog sandbox” as my son calls it)