There are some really amazing things that happen as a mom blogger. Speaking to Mrs. Obama is one of them. On March 16th, Netflix is releasing is highly anticipated new series, Waffles + Mochi, which features Michelle Obama and two lovable puppets named, you guessed it…Waffles and Mochi. I want you to envision a futuristic Sesame Street focused around healthy eating and self acceptance. That is what Waffles + Mochi felt like for us.
I am one of those moms who genuinely struggle to get into kid shows. I know that they are teaching moral lessons and concepts that my daughter thinks is wildly hilarious but for me, I have two episode limit before I mentally check out. I say this to let you know that I went into Waffles + Mochi with the same mentality. I knew that after episode two, the punchlines would throw me over the edge. Instead, I was intrigued. Like a real genuine interest. This show was beautifully done, I could not keep my eyes focused in one place because there was so much vibrant color on the screen. Somehow the production team manages to teach you facts about food that even I, as self proclaimed foodie adult, did not even know about. Waffles + Mochi are extremely adorable and Michelle Obama is the cherry on a deliciously (and healthy) veggie cake. Do those even exist?
What I loved about Waffles + Mochi is not just the ease the show takes in teaching our children about veggies – and they tackle some pretty hard ones. Have you ever tried to get a kid to eat a bowl of mushrooms? They probably will after watching Waffles + Mochi! I also really admired the cultural context around the show. Waffles + Mochi travel all over the world, from Peru to Africa, learning about how different countries celebrate food. The adorable pair take their knowledge back home and are rewarded with food badges for their aprons from Mrs. Obama for all of their hard work to learn about eating. One of the biggest lessons here is acceptance of what certain foods are and for Waffles + Mochi, acceptance in themselves, their tenacity, patience, and the simple knowledge that you don’t have to be perfect in order to be a good chef. You just just have to keep trying. As a comfort to moms, it is made clear – good food doesn’t have to be a timely production. You can whip up a meal that is healthy that will bring all the family together in happiness.
In my conversation with Mrs. Obama, I asked her why this series meant so much to her – not just from the educational perspective but in its collaboration with a Partnership For A Healthier America. PHA’s mission is to leverage the power of the private sector to transform the food landscape in pursuit of health equity. In simplified terms, they are working to make sure that every family in America, especially those who are disproportionately affected, can have access to healthy meals – instead of foods that causes obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions.
When asked about the importance of the collaboration, Michelle Obama speaks of her work as First Lady, highlighting “Let’s Move“, one of her signature initiatives in which they worked to ensure that children were eating healthy and exercising to fight the rise in the childhood obesity epidemic. During this original call to action, the Partnership for A Healthier America was developed. “This is just a continuation on that work,” Mrs. Obama explains. “What I tried to do in the White House was try to make sure that everything we did was educational, that moved the needle somewhat, and was fun. That’s what attracted me to this project. You can get kids to do a lot if you make it fun and if you meet them where they are.”
With adlibs here and there from Waffles and Mochi, Mrs. Obama further explains the campaign created through PHA called Pass The Love which is partnered with the Waffles + Mochi Netflix series in order to help raise money to feed one million families through this initiative. “In this time of pandemic and isolation, families are losing jobs, incomes, families are going hungry, in the country that we live in.” Obama says.
“The website is also helpful in getting people to interact with the show as well. “Kids and families can go on there and learn the recipes that they’re cooking. They are all affordable and easy and something that kids can do. Kids can also earn badges!” Michelle Obama knows that her young viewers will want to earn badges just like Waffles and Mochi do at the end of every adventure.
Make sure you watch the Waffles + Mochi series premiere on Netflix March 16th!