"Make your choice. Are you ready to be strong?"
That was Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy in Buffy the Vampire Slayer's 2003 finale. She was using her power to turn girls all over the world into slayers and subsequently staking her claim as one of television's most important feminist role models.
Twenty years after slaying her first vampire, though, she's swapped the wooden stake for a wooden spoon, acting as a different kind of inspiration for girls everywhere.
Last week, Gellar published her first cookbook, Stirring Up Fun with Food, affirming herself as a self-made entrepreneur and real-life superhero.
Courtesy of Hachette Book Group Inc.
"Over the years, I've watched my industry totally change," she says about Hollywood. "When I first started in the business, movie stars did movies, and television stars did television, and that was all they did. Then, slowly, as our landscape progressed digitally, the way we consume content became so different. For me, I always wanted to tackle something I hadn't done before, something where I'd still get to be creative and try something new."
That new venture came in 2014 when she cofounded Foodstirs, an organic baking subscription service that offers supplies for staples like cookies, cupcakes and pancakes. She and cofounder Galit Laibow (along with cofounders Greg Fleishman and Gia Russo) were inspired by a disappointing grocery search for baking ingredients.
"When [Galit] went to the store, it was either the legacy brands with added colors and horrible ingredients, or the gluten-free, added-protein health options that didn't actually taste good," she says.
This marked the beginning of her journey into the food world.
"I think right now there's a great gap between inspiration and execution," she says. "Although we all kind of know what we're supposed to be eating, that doesn't mean we have access to it. Our team wanted to figure out how to make things simpler and less intimidating."
Enter Foodstirs, whose kits use sustainable ingredients, are kid friendly and can be made in six steps or less. After about a year and a half of selling online, the kits hit stores.
As Gellar puts it in an Instagram post, "It only goes to show that you are never too old to try something new."
Roasted Vegetable Lasagna Cups | Photo: Beatriz da Costa
Look no further than her new cookbook to see that she's still practicing what she preaches.
"I've always been a crafty person," she says, "but with food, my expertise has always been in the eating department rather than the cooking department. Still, when I started to experiment, I realized there were all these new ways to merge the things that I loved."
The book is a colorful and smart look at what it means to play with your food—in a good way. From honey pumpkin cheesecake parfaits to "lightsaber snack mix" for Star Wars Day (yes, Gellar is a big fan), the book serves as a resource for busy parents, curious kids and anyone on the go. One of her favorite tricks for getting her own kids to try new ingredients is disguising vegetables, like asparagus, as "french fries" (get the recipe).
For Gellar, her husband, Freddie Prinze Jr., and their two young children, getting creative with food makes all the difference in their hectic schedules. Take Gellar's portable pancake muffins for busy mornings.
"I can make the pancake batter, put it in the oven and then have 12 to 15 minutes to get my kids ready in the morning. And they can eat it in the car! To me, that's the revolutionary part."
In switching gears from acting to following this new career path, Gellar hasn't taken her place in the food world for granted.
When she visited Tasting Table's Test Kitchen, Gellar arrived fresh off a full day of talk shows, interviews and live appearances, after a multi-delay trip from her home in L.A. to NYC. Nonetheless, she was ready to go. The next morning, she got up to do it all over again, before eventually returning home to her other job as "chief mom."
If she's a celebrity who seems to have it all, it's because she's working for it. Her perseverance, she says, stems from her earlier days in Hollywood.
"What I learned as an actor completely translates to what I'm doing now," she says. "As an actor, you get rejected every single day. This, too, is about sticking with something, about being creative and inspiring people. That's what art is."
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