From growing up working in her family’s Italian restaurants to teaching her children how to cook recipes passed down generations, food is something that helps busy Long Island native and entertainment correspondent Sabrina Coleman stay grounded. Edible Long Island recently spoke with Coleman about the food she always makes during the holidays, how she and husband, retired NFL safety Erik Coleman balance their careers and family, why she thinks everyone should work in a restaurant and more.
Edible Long Island: Tell us about you’re currently working on:
Sabrina Coleman: Besides raising my three kids, and being CEO of the Coleman household, I am the Entertainment Correspondent on the nationally syndicated Live From Studio 6 B. I basically give the daily 411 on what’s going on in the entertainment world. I love being on-air, the show allows me to be myself and entertain viewers.
ELI: You and husband Erik seem like you make a great team. How do you balance your careers, raising three kids and finding time for each other?
SC: Balancing my career as well as my husband’s has been challenging. While Erik was playing, I was a stay at home mom and it was a blessing to have that time to raise my children. When the time came for him to retire from the NFL and we weren’t sure what he would do next, I put anything and everything I was doing on hold to help us find the best career path for him. It wasn’t easy, and still isn’t but it feels great to watch his career flourish, because we built it together and it makes it twice as rewarding. And my mother has been very helpful and supportive in my life. She is one of the main reasons I balance things and stay focus and have time with my husband.
ELI: Speaking of staying balanced, you’ve focused a lot on healthy living, but it also seems like you are busy. What are some of things that help you stay grounded?
SC: To say our family is “busy” is an understatement. I think that goes for most moms—whether working moms or stay at home moms—our days are filled with routines, errands, meetings, calls and all the beauties of family and life. My husband and kids help me stay focused. My children are a constant reminder of how to appreciate the little things when you see the world through their eyes.
If I could give any advice it would be to do your best to be prepared. I try to prep dinner before I leave for my show or errands so when the kids get home I can focus on them. I also am a huge fan of joint calendars. Erik and I share a calendar on our phones so I am always up to date on what he has going on and vice versa. We even schedule in family time and date night.
ELI: Food seems to have played a huge role in your life. You used to help run your family’s Italian restaurants. What did you learn from that, that you think helps you today?
SC: I think everyone, early on in life, should work in a restaurant. I truly believe working in a restaurant introduced me to responsibilities, accountability, and interpersonal relations that you don’t always find in other jobs.
Food is close to people’s hearts, and brings people together on a very personal level. Growing up in the restaurant business and then running my family’ business instilled me with a sense of pride in my work, no matter what work I am doing. Also dealing with all types of people on every level truly prepared me to take on anything the world dishes out.
ELI: What are some of the things you love to cook?
SC: The things I love to cook most are the recipes and dishes that have been passed down from generation to generation. My daughters enjoy cooking with me and to be able to share stories of our ancestors who have cooked the same dishes is amazing. I feel that by cooking those Sicilian dishes, I am passing down these nuances, taste and textures that are inherent in our culture.
ELI: We’re moving into the holiday season what do your holidays look like?
SC: Holidays for us, are very special. Food is the focal point of all our Holidays. Because I have such a large Sicilian family, we all try to rotate whose house hosts each year, Last year we hosted Christmas Eve. We had about 85 family members at our home and we made the traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes for Christmas Eve. It’s a little crazy, but so beautiful. My favorite part of the holidays, though, are the cookies we make. My mother is teaching me this ancient recipe of Italian cookies made from red cooked wine, we also make “S” cookies, and my favorite cookies called “Cucuzza Cookies” which are cookies made out of home grown Cucuzza which is a Italian Long Squash.
ELI: What’s next for you? Are there any other projects you’re working on that you’re really excited about?
SC: I really hope to one day put all these recipes in a cookbook and continue the tradition so that my children can carry the torch and keep it alive. I also would love to have my own cooking show.