Flower Mound’s bubbling Amy Kushnir’s personal project is to explode unflattering stereotypes about stay-at-home moms. “And,” she says with a wave of her arm toward the Bridlewood neighborhood outside her windows, “I can show you lots of stay-at-home moms who run circles around the idea we’re frumpy bores whose only skill is to expand into bigger sweat pants.”
In 1992 Amy, a DFW area native, graduated from SMU’s journalism program, “But I always knew I wanted to be a career wife and mother.”
Three years after graduation she was married and the mother of a newborn son. Two more children and 10 years after that Amy began to look around for on-air opportunities that fit a mother’s schedule.
“And I didn’t want to report news,” she says. “The problem was that opportunity requires experience, and experience requires opportunity,” she says, “They feed on each other. I had to make my own opportunity.”
She modeled in television commercials until she hit on the idea of starting a website with videos demonstrating her love of things Texan, and her personal passions. She hired a web designer and a camerawoman then set out to make her dream happen. Home cooking elbowed its way to front-and-center stage on MyTexasToday.com.
“I don’t have any professional cooking credentials, I just descend from a long line of good cooks,” she laughs, “I don’t cook non-fat; a stick of butter makes everything better, and a pan of brownies cures the blues!”
Amy got her start in the kitchen when she lived at home during her freshman year of college.
“My mother is a workaholic, and she offered to pay me to figure out the weekly family dinner menu, do the shopping, and of course cook. I bought a little spiral bound cookbook at the Hallmark store, gathered up Mom’s recipes, and that’s how it started. Fridays, by the way, became leftovers-night!”
Besides her enthusiasm for all things Texan, Amy loves country-western music. She landed a weekly Texas cooking segment called “Go To Tuesday Recipe with Amy K.” on the Justin Frazell Morning Show on The Ranch 95.9 FM radio in Fort Worth. Listen in at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesdays.
“One Tuesday morning I had an epiphany,” she says, “What if I invite Texas musicians to be filmed cooking their favorite down-home recipe then performing a song-- in my kitchen?”
The station General Manager thought the idea might be a winner, and that was all the encouragement Amy needed.
“We work around musical schedules,” she says, “They come over when they’re in town for a gig.” She’s posted the videos under ‘Music’ at MyTexasToday.com
Does Amy have a favorite performer or group? “They’re all terrific! And wonderful people too!” she says. “I appreciate their hard work to pursue a dream. Their stories, recipes and music have impacted my life.”
For two years, unknown to Amy, the Executive Producer at WFAA television in Dallas followed her productions on MyTexasToday.com. Impressed, he stepped from the shadows, and invited her to do a 3-5 minute cooking demonstration during an early morning newscast. The pleasing result landed Amy and her foods on the Saturday morning News 8 Daybreak team in the studio at Victory Park in downtown Dallas. “The team has good chemistry. I do easy recipes for family oriented food.” The good interpersonal chemistry is evident in abundance in the station’s videos posted on the newscast website along with printouts of the day’s recipe.
Like concert encores, a lot of work goes into each fast and easy demonstration.
“On Fridays I assemble all the equipment then I buy double the recipe ingredients. I go home, and make the finished product and a set of prepared ingredients for the demonstration itself. There is only on-air time to mix things; no chopping, cutting, cooking or baking. At the end of 5 minutes of preparation I have to show the finished product.”
Amy’s Saturdays start early, she holds up four fingers to emphasize what time her alarm goes off.
“I love the whole experience,” she says with pleasure.
The secret to being a successful wife and mother says Amy, is a combination of things: faith, patience, a little luck, good decision-making, and maturing. “We need to live outside ourselves, and feed our own souls while we nurture our families. Dare to live fully where you are right now, and slow down once a day to identify your blessings.”
She keeps an open notebook on the kitchen counter, and each evening Amy’s family members jot down blessings they noticed during the day.
“It’s important to be positive, and to teach our children to be positive too,” she says.
Amy’s dream-come-true would be a syndicated show from Texas, “It would include food, laughter, music, and uplifting chat. People around the world know about Texas. They know it’s a great place to live. Our people are Texas’ greatest asset. I want to share that with the world.”