The Family Meal
By Meda Kessler
Photos by Ron Jenkins
It’s been almost a decade since we first met Claudia Sheddy of My Sweet Roots.
Her family has been in the restaurant business for 40-some years, so cooking has been part of her life for quite a while. But she prefers a more specialized approach, which led to a concierge catering business along with customized meal preparation.
We knew her for her Mason jar salads, an early success. The layered ingredients artfully packed into a clear glass jar made eating greens more appealing.
“It was good while it lasted, but then I ran into issues of transport along with a shortage of jars,” says Sheddy. “I started to concentrate on meals that would still appeal to busy people who wanted good food that they didn’t have to make.”
Today, Sheddy rents a massive commercial kitchen to fulfill orders for everything from healthy breakfasts to family meals. Keto? Vegan? Vegetarian? No problem.
“I get a lot more requests for plant-based meals,” says Sheddy. “It’s a pleasure to experiment and come up with meatless dishes that everyone will love.”
With two young boys, ages 5 and 7, she’s also in tune with what kids will eat and ways to encourage them to try different foods.
“I don’t make them their own meal, so they eat what we’re eating,” says Sheddy, adding that Friday night is the standing date for a sit-down family meal at home with her husband and the kids.
“If it’s an unusual dish, I’ll also include something familiar that they enjoy to encourage them to try a little of everything.”
And like any realistic parent, she knows it can be a battle. “My kids like ‘plain’ food, so they’re not fond of a lot of garnishes or layered flavors. I do make a lot of pastas, and we grill as often as we can. I really like the mezze style of eating, too. Everyone likes the option of an assortment of small dishes.”