ali benjamin

words. kids. coffee.

ali does

"A gem of a cookbook" - Sacramento Book Review

I am co-author of the forthcoming memoir, POSITIVE, the story of Paige Raw who was born with HIV, bullied for it, and has since emerged a national anti-bullying crusader and HIV educator. The book will be in stores August 26, 2014, from Harper Collins.

I was a lead member of the documentary team for Sesame Street’s hour-long primetime television special, Growing Hope Against Hunger, which won a 2012 Emmy. You can see a brief highlight reel here.

Released: August 2014

I speak with groups about storytelling, healthy food, hunger…and sometimes all of those things at once. Recent venues include the Stone Barns Center for Sustainable Agriculture, the 2012 Feeding America Mobilizing the Public conference, and the Sea Island Club, Sea Island, Georgia.

I wrote The Cleaner Plate Club: Raising Healthy Eaters One Meal at a Time, co-authored with kitchen goddess, Beth Bader. Read more about it below.

Here are a few other things I wrote recently:

The Mystery of Memory, with Dr. Suzanne Corkin, who studied the famous amnesic patient H.M.

Unraveling the Mystery of M.S. , with neuroscience researcher Jean Merrill

Decoding Earth’s History, with geologist Ronadh Cox

Making Sustainable Food Realistic for Parents, on Grist

Nine Things to Know About Our Universe, with astronomer Jay Pasachoff

A Child’s Story of Hunger, for Feeding America

A Better Way to Snack: Boston Globe Magazine

Neophobia 101: when picky eating confounds good food intentions, from the Ethicurean

Red Flags or Red Herrings (PDF): relief for anxious parents, from the Williams College alumni magazine

Notes from a New Farmer: profile of Michael Gallagher, Square Roots Farm

Sugar is a Verb, and So is Hope: on maple sugaring in Vermont.

Fun, Not Fearsome: green vegetables kids will eat: from Culinate.

And the book? It’s a  fresh, fun guide for parents hoping to serve up real food in the real world. In other words, it offers up good food without the guilt.  It explores why kids eat what they do, and it offers tips for feeding wee ones well, supermarket survival strategies, nutrition facts, a wee bit of irreverence, and a whoppin’ 100+ original family-friendly recipes from seasonal ingredients.

Elizabeth Kolbert called it a “down-to-earth guide for busy parents,” (and she knows a little something about the earth).

USA Today said the book is filled with “lots of information, a witty sense of humor, and even an any-mistake-you-made-we-made-it-too attitude…simple brilliance on every page.”

BookPage named it a top pick, saying that The Cleaner Plate Club is thankfully written for Real Parents…this massive yet peppy manual… is jammed with info: guidelines, pantry lists, meal-planning techniques and time-savers—yet the energetic authors make it feel as fresh as our next family dinner can be, with their plate-cleaning help.”

NPR-affiliate KCUR called it “Michael Pollan for real people,” the  Sacramento Book Review called it a “gem of a cookbook,” and Sixty Second Parent said, “I can’t think of another cookbook that causes me to laugh out loud. From page one, I felt like I was sitting  at my table with old friends. This isn’t just a cookbook: it’s an  educational arsenal to wield your way with grace and dexterity through the carnival that is the modern American food system.”

It’s also gotten some nice kudos from Library Journal, Mother Earth News, Kitchen Daily, and Publisher’s Weekly. For that work, I was featured in the Boston Globe Q&A. Once in a while I show up in the media as an expert on a topic, for example  this piece in Prevention.