Natalie Morales wants readers to get more than recipes from her cookbook.
At Home with Natalie: Simple Recipes for Healthy Living from My Family’s Kitchen to Yours is also about inspiring home cooks to create a home-like atmosphere, regardless of where they are, she told audience members at the Stranahan Theater on Thursday.
“Home, for me, sometimes, was in a hotel room on base housing,” the longtime Today show personality said. “When we were moving between places, my mom would whip up a meal in our temporary housing kitchen, and it felt like home.
“That’s really the message behind the book,” she continued. “To bring back that feeling of being home and creating memories together, having conversations around the dinner table and taking time for one another. We don’t do enough of that.”
Ms. Morales spoke as the latest of six presenters in this season’s Authors! Authors! lecture series, sponsored by The Blade and Buckeye Broadband. She is the West Coast anchor of Today on NBC, as well as host of the same network’s entertainment-oriented Access and Access Live. In an onstage conversation with Brigette Burnett of Buckeye Community Arts Network on Thursday, she discussed her career, her book and the multicultural upbringing as a self-described Air Force “brat” that influenced both.
Ms. Morales grew up relocating to new countries with her family every three years or so, spending bits of her childhood in Panama, Brazil, and Spain. She told audience members that she believed this upbringing pushed her toward a career in journalism, as well as helped her excel in this field. When asked about a particularly memorable experience as a reporter, for example, she described the weeks she spent in Chile in 2010 covering the ultimately successful efforts to rescue 33 trapped miners.
“Because I speak Spanish, I had that ability to really translate for [the families] and tell their stories,” said Ms. Morales, whose heritage is Puerto Rican and Brazilian. “I think they immediately realized, ‘oh, here’s an American reporter, but she gets us,’ because I had lived in that part of the world.”
Her presentation continued into questions from audience members, who were curious about aspects of her life as varied as her kitchen must-haves, her work-life balance, her advice for up-and-coming journalists, and her thoughts on the interviewees who surprised her most throughout her career.
In reflecting on the latter, she drew laughs from the audience by recalling a first-time experience covering the Golden Globes. It was pouring rain, she said, and she, wearing a “flimsy purple dress,” was soaked through. As she waited for the cameras to begin rolling for a red carpet interview, she recalled, Morgan Freeman pulled out a handkerchief and tried to help her dry off.
“You need people,” she recalled the actor telling her with a laugh.
At Home with Natalie, which includes a wide variety of recipes, many of which are inspired by its author’s heritage, as well as the countries in which she’s lived and traveled, was released on Tuesday. Ms. Morales signed copies for audience members at the event.
Authors! Authors! Continues on May 9 with Piper Kerman, author of the memoir Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison, on which the Emmy-winning Netflix series is based.
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