Misha Collins remembers the indignity like it was yesterday. The actor—who plays the angel Castiel on The CW's Supernatural, which ends its 15-year run this spring—asked his then-2-year-old son, West, to try guacamole.

"He took one bite and spit it straight into my face," says Collins, speaking on the phone from the home he shares with wife Vicki Collins; West, now 9; and daughter Maison, 7. "He looked at me and said, 'I won't eat that. It's disgusting!'"

Misha Collins prepping a family meal with help from his kids.

Misha Collins prepping a family meal with kids Maison (left) and West.

Photo Credit: Michele M. Waite Photography.

The goopy incident became a turning point for the Collins family. They started letting West pick out food at the supermarket and prepare it himself. While the results weren't Michelin star-worthy (Brussels sprouts in cream of mushroom soup, anyone?), the pride shown in West's face suggests it was well worth it.

"We realized that if the kids engage in the cooking process, they're going to eat the food," says Misha Collins, in the midst of making grape jelly for canning. "It was an epiphany that started shifting things in our family. It also became the germ of our cookbook."

Book jacket of Misha Collins' cookbook.

Photo Credit: Michele M. Waite Photography.

Co-written with his wife, The Adventurous Eaters Club: Mastering the Art of Family Mealtime is more than a collection of recipes. It's a guidebook for empowering kids in the kitchen, much as Collins has with his YouTube show Cooking Fast and Fresh with West.

The book features playful takes on healthy eating, like Salad Popsicles and Shiitake Crispies. You'll also find silly kid concoctions like Spaghetti in Jam Sauce. "If you approach cooking as a form of play," Collins says, "you invite the children into the kitchen in a way that excites them."

Misha Collins and kids tossing lettuce leaves in the air.

Lettuce entertain you! Misha Collins' new cookbook is fun for the whole family.

Photo Credit: Michele M. Waite Photography.

Does that mean West and Maison will be dumping Collins' homemade jelly over pasta? "No," he says, chuckling. "I'd never let them touch my jelly for something so blasphemous."

Trust us: After playing an angel for 11 years, the man knows a little something about blasphemy.

Green Confetti Frittata

Nutritious and delicious, this "Green Confetti Frittata" is one of many healthy recipes featured in The Adventurous Eaters Club cookbook.

Photo Credit: Michele M. Waite Photography.

One of the wonders of frittatas is that they work with any combo of veggies, and now that frittatas are part of our family's repertoire, we use them to explore new veggie varieties. It can be a super-simple affair, or it can be an improvisational playground for the whole family. This version uses a single leaf of chard (snipped into "confetti") to ease kids into relishing green specks.

Ingredients:

• 1 leaf Swiss or rainbow chard (Yes, just one leaf—the goal here is to introduce the visual of leafy green specks without altering the flavor or texture.)

• 6 eggs

• 1 cup milk

• Salt to taste

• 2 tablespoons butter

• ¾ cup of grated Swiss cheese or Gruyère cheese

• ¾ cup grated mild cheddar cheese

* Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Instructions:

— Combine the eggs, milk, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk until well mixed.

— Melt the butter into a medium-size pan (preferably cast iron) over medium heat. Swirl the butter so it coats all sides of the pan. Once the pan is evenly coated, pour the excess melted butter into the whisked eggs and give them a stir. Set aside.

— Add the chard confetti to the pan and stir until just wilted. If there's water in the pan after sautéing the greens, press the greens into the pan with a spatula and tip the pan to pour out the excess into the sink.

— Pour the egg mixture into the pan. Top one side of the pan with cheddar and the other with Gruyère. Pop the pan into the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Stick a toothpick in the middle: If it comes out mostly clear, it's ready.

— Let the frittata cool for a few minutes, then slice into wedges and serve.

Actor Misha Collins with his children.

Photo Credit: Michele M. Waite Photography.

Kid's Job!

Wash and dry the chard. Hold the stem at the bottom, like a handle, in one hand. Use your other hand to tear the leaves away from the stem in one swoop. Set aside the stems or use them for a duel. Using safety scissors, snip off tiny pieces of the leaves to make teeny green confetti. Set aside.

Excerpted from The Adventurous Eaters Club by Misha and Vicki Collins. Reprinted with permission from HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Copyright 2019.

Misha Collin’s Essential Kitchen Items

Butcher block countertop: "I like cutting directly on the countertop. Ours was pulled out of a Chicago public school shop class. I love that it has all these carvings from the middle schoolers."

Child smashing herbs with a cooking mallet.

Photo Credit: Michele M. Waite Photography.

Wooden mallet: "Mine is from the 1800s and made of maple. It tenderizes and crushes things, and is a great way to exorcise demons."

Food dehydrator with trays of fresh fruit slices.

Photo Credit: Williams Sonoma.

Dehydrator: "Right now it's turning the grape skins from the jam into fruit leather for the kids' lunches."

Vitamix blender with a green smoothie.

Photo Credit: Williams Sonoma.

A powerful blender: "Ours is a Vitamix. We love it and probably use it way too much."

Canning jars filled with fresh veggies.

Photo Credit: Tottenham Hotspur FC/Getty Images.

Pint-size canning jars: "I'm proud that my pantry is full of things that I've put in jars. For me, if I'm canning, it's a sign of good mental health."

Originally published in Watch Magazine, January-February 2020.

Supernatural returns on Monday, March 16 at 8/7c on The CW. Stream new episodes free on Tuesdays via The CW App.

Cooking Fast and Fresh

From extreme baking to spruced up veggies, Misha Collin's cooking channel on YouTube is absolutely delicious. Here's a taste of what he and the kids serve up.

Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester on Supernatural.

Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfells III/The CW.

Watch Supernatural Mondays at 8/7c on The CW. Stream new episodes free Tuesdays only on The CW.

By David Hochman

5:30 A.M.

I wake up two and a half hours before I get picked up for work. I shower, maybe change out the laundry I didn't do the night before, have coffee, and usually take an Advil because fighting devils gets harder as you get older.

Jared Padalecki in Season 15 of TV show Supernatural.

Jared Padalecki in Season 15 of Supernatural.

Photo Credit: Shane Harvey/The CW.

6:00 A.M.

From my years on Gilmore Girls, I learned that I'm better at memorizing dialogue when I'm doing something else. So I spend a half-hour on the treadmill reading my lines for the day. I don't know why, but the words stick more easily if I'm moving.

7:30 A.M.

We shoot Supernatural in Vancouver, but my family [including wife-actress Genevieve Cortese; sons Thomas, 7, and Shepherd, 5; and daughter Odette, 2 ] is in Austin, Texas, which makes it hard to connect in the morning because they're two hours ahead. I'm waking up and the kids are already leaving for school, outside chasing lizards, or whatever. But we try to at least say good morning.

7:45 A.M.

Leaving for work, looking at headlines on CNN, listening to Howard Stern.

   

Behind-the-scenes on the set of TV show Supernatural.

Behind-the-scenes on the set of Supernatural.

Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss/The CW.

8:17 A.M.

I'll drop my backpack in my trailer, take some vitamins, and go through what we call "The works"--hair, makeup, special effects makeup if we need it. I'm still in my personal clothes because God forbid something smudges my work outfit! Season 1, it took about five minutes to do makeup. As years went by, it would be 10. Then 15. You can probably figure out why.

9:00 A.M.

Craft services makes you anything you want for breakfast: pancakes, eggs, etc. I generally have a breakfast burrito, a bowl of berries, and coffee.

   

Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles filming TV show Supernatural.

Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester and Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester with the iconic Impala on Supernatural.

Photo Credit: Diyah Pera/The CW.

9:30 A.M.

We're called to the set to block out the scenes unless we're shooting in the show's iconic Impala that day. In that case, [co-star] Jensen Ackles gets behind the wheel and I'll get in the passenger seat, and we'll just start cracking jokes.

10:51 A.M.

This is a physical show. I've gotten pounded, bruised, and scraped over the years, and it's almost always my fault. If there's a scene where a guy's throwing a bar stool, and they tell you to go down on the ground a certain way, you do it. One time I did it wrong and ended up breaking part of my wrist.

NOON

Three hours after crew call, it's sandwich time. It'd be nice to say I have a healthy salad instead, but it's usually a big ol' sandwich and potato chips.

Misha Collins, Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki and Alexander Calvert attend a red carpet event.

Misha Collins, Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, and Alexander Calvert attend the The CW's Summer 2019 TCA Party.

Photo Credit: Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images.

1:00 P.M.

I love bringing my family to set when they're in town, but we're also a happy show family. Jensen, Misha [Collins], Alex [Calvert], and I are like a bunch of kids. We tease each other pretty hardcore. Go look at the gag reels on YouTube to see what I mean. Nobody's trying to sabotage anyone. We're just keeping morale up on set.

   

Jared Padalecki and his wife Genevieve Cortese.

Jared Padalecki with wife Genevieve Cortese.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jared Padalecki.

2:00 P.M.

My wife, Genevieve, and I met on set in 2009. She played a demon. It was love at first sight. So much has happened with this crew over time: We've seen births and deaths, marriages and divorces, and a lot of babies. It's really hitting me in this final season that we've grown up together. We're like childhood friends.

3:00 P.M.

If I get a break, I sometimes go for a run. A bunch of us from the show had the harebrained idea to run a marathon together last year, and we ended up doing it for a charity called Endure 4 Kindness that feeds children around the world. We raised over $200,000. Then I got invited to do the Boston Marathon with my wife. She demolished me, but it didn't matter. We raised $30,000 for Dream Big!, which supports girls in sports.

4:05 P.M.

I FaceTime with my kids. We used to read together, but now I'd rather just hear about their days. Tom's into basketball, biking, and swimming. We have a bunch of animals--dogs and chickens--that Shepherd keeps me updated on. Odette's still too young to express herself that well, but she's good at giving daddy the stink eye.

Jared Padalecki and co-star Jensen Ackles on the set of Supernatural.

Photo Credit: Katie Yu/The CW.

4:30 P.M.

Fans of this show are incredible. My office is full of letters that mean so much to me. People are so supportive of Always Keep Fighting. [Padalecki launched the mental illness awareness campaign in 2015, after opening up about his own struggle with depression.] Fans will thank me, but I'll say, "Don't thank me. We're all going through this together." No matter who you are, how much you make, where you live--dealing with issues like depression, that's universal. We're all struggling.

6:38 P.M.

We shoot a 12-hour day, but you never know which 12 hours. A lot of it is overnight. What we call "lunch" happens six hours after crew call. So lunch sometimes happens at lunchtime, but often times it's dinner or it could be a midnight snack.

Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester on TV show Supernatural.

Photo Credit: Colin Bentley/The CW.

8:30 P.M.

One thing I look forward to when the show ends is having more time to pursue my passions. I used to do jiujitsu, but you don't want to get injured on a Friday and show up to work on a Monday not being able to walk. My wife and I opened a couple of bars in Austin, and sometimes I'll bartend. I love to travel and read and be with my family without having to fly off somewhere. So I'm sort of excited about having time to devote to regular life.

Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester on TV show Supernatural.

Photo Credit: Jack Rowand/The CW.

11:00 P.M.

At the end of a long day, I'll usually give thanks. Playing Sam Winchester for 15 years, he's more than a character to me. He's actually shaped who I am, how I want to behave, what I strive for, how I can help people. I don't feel like I'm saying goodbye to him. He'll always be part of who I've become, and I'm grateful for that.

Originally published in Watch Magazine, November-December 2019.

Watch Supernatural Mondays at 8/7c on The CW. Stream new episodes free Tuesdays only on The CW.


By Marc Bernardin

If you were born at any time before, say, 1990, the pop culture ecosystem we're living in today would've been unthinkable when you were a kid—especially if you were a kid who grew up loving science fiction, comic books, and fantasy.

Sure, we had Star Trek and Star Wars, Batman and Superman movies, with Doctor Who as the crazy British uncle who loved to remind you that he's been there the whole bloody time.

Sonequa Martin Green as First Officer Michael Burnham looking off to the side with a screen in the background

Sonequa Martin-Green as First Officer Michael Burnham in Star Trek: Discovery.

Jan Thijs/CBS

But there was no way to envision a television landscape that had room for more than one show that came from the pages of DC Comics, let alone six:

Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, Black Lightning, and iZombie. And all at the same time!

You couldn't have convinced anyone that both the Avengers and the Justice League would be in theaters, competing for a planet's box-office attention.

Brandon Routh as The Atom with his clenched fist out

Brandon Routh as Ray Palmer/The Atom in DC's Legends of Tomorrow.

Jordan Nuttall/The CW

And if you went to Vegas in 2010 and said, "I'd like to bet this massive wad of cash that not only will we get a Black Panther movie within the decade, but that it will be the third-highest-grossing movie in the U.S. of all time," they would've taken your money and laughed at you as you left.

But that is the world we live in today, a world in which the most popular movies are "nerd" movies and entire television networks are built on the backs of superheroes.

This is the Age of the Geek, in almost every way. And it's not just geeks who are inhaling this kind of entertainment: No movie gets to a billion dollars at the box office without everyone seeing it.

Willa Holland as Thea Queen in Arrow bending down with a bow in her hand

Willa Holland as Thea Queen in Arrow.

Jack Rowand/The CW

How did we get here? Well, a bunch of different ways, actually. It helps that human beings come with a hardwired affinity for the legendary. We are creatures of story, of tales that feel larger than life, of supernatural fables.

The modern superhero story shares most of its DNA with classic mythology, the adventures of gods and monsters, of heroes and villains. People have been telling stories just like this for millennia, only the heroes of those stories had names like Hercules, Aladdin, King Arthur, and Thor instead of Bruce Banner, Barry Allen, Kara Danvers, and, well, Thor.

We are, in lots of ways, built for this.​

Michelle Yeoh to the left and Sonequa Martin Green on the right in Star Trek Discovery wearing long tan outfits on a rocky set

Michelle Yeoh and Sonequa Martin-Green in Star Trek: Discovery.

Dalia Naber/CBS

And the community of people who make media undergoes a generational churn every 20 or 30 years. Those kids who saw Star Wars in the 1970s and then fell down the wondrous rabbit hole of comic books and video games are now in their mid-40s.

Some of those kids went into entertainment, starting as interns or mail room clerks, and have since climbed the ladder.

Mark Hamill Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford in costume for Star Wars

Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford of Stars Wars, circa 1977.

Lucas Film Ltd./Everett Collection

​They're running the companies that make the stuff we watch. Where their predecessors might've looked askance at men and women in spangly tights, these executives were raised on them.

They have the power to green-light whatever they want… and they are unafraid to take big, superheroic swings. After all, it's what they've loved since childhood—and Hollywood is nothing if not a Peter Pan place where all we want to do is conjure the feeling of what it was like to be a kid

A picture of Jared Padalecki to the right and a picture of Jensen Ackles to the left

Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles as brothers Sam and Dean Winchester in Supernatural.

Nino Muñoz (2)

Underneath all of that, however, is the steady drumbeat of social mood. Where are we, as a country, at any given moment? Is the national mind-set one of calm prosperity? Is it unease? Is it divisive, fractured, and toxic?

All too often, the pop cultural flavor of any period in time is the opposite of that national mind-set. We want what we don't have.

Close up of Camila Mendes with half of her face covered by rain

Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge in Riverdale.

Marc Hom/The CW

DC's Superman and Marvel's Captain America both got their start in comics—and were never quite as popular as during times when the United States was at war.

The economic boom of the late 1990s gave rise to the television antihero, like Tony Soprano—a trend that rode through George W. Bush's presidency and came to an end, questionably, in President Obama's second term with the finale of Breaking Bad.

Falk Hentschel and Clara Renee in costume for DCs Legends of Tomorrow

Falk Hentschel and Ciara Renée in DC's Legends of Tomorrow.

Katie Yu/The CW

It can be comforting to watch The Flash's Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) run toward every problem rather than away from them—to watch him suffer with every wrong step and rejoice with every right one. And the Fastest Man Alive takes a whole mess of steps.

It can be inspiring to witness Supergirl's Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist) embody a kind of steadfast morality and ineffable sense of justice—which, given the fact that she and her cousin Superman are undocumented immigrants, is more timely than ever.

But as America becomes more fractured and as the tone of the air itself feels fraught and divisive, the Day-Glo derring-do of comic book heroes can be a balm.

Melissa Benoist as Supergirl and Grant Gustin as The Flash looking up and off into the distance

Supergirl's leading lady Melissa Benoist and The Flash's Grant Gustin save the day.

Robert Voets/WBEI

​We all like to believe that one man can make a difference, even if we know that, in truth, it takes a small group of committed people—like Oliver Queen's (Stephen Amell) Star City crew in Arrow—to change the world, because it's the only thing that ever has.

And sometimes, you just want a crew to roll with, even if the roads are—like the ones traveled by the men and women aboard the Waverider in Legends of Tomorrow—across time and space. The end of the world, provided you stop it every week, can be a hoot.

Stephen Arnell as Oliver Queen of Arrow dressed in his archery outfit

Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen in Arrow.

J Squared Photography/The CW

It's not that the real world can't be a part of the fiction in which we take vicarious pleasure.

Black Lightning comes to us from a world much like ours, a world that is concerned with the value and valuation of black lives and black excellence. A world that understands the fabric of the community and the role of educators and officers, bystanders and evildoers, within that community.

Our world's eyes have been opened to the harsh realities of African-American life, and that knowledge makes a show like Black Lightning possible—a show that finds a man, Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams), wrestling with his better demons and lesser angels while trying to be a teacher, a father, and a hero

Nafessa Williams as Thunder in her full orange and black costume

Nafessa Williams suits up as Thunder in Black Lightning.

Bob Mahoney/The CW

​For as bright as some of these heroes are, there will always be room at the dark end of the street, where some of Marvel's more challenging characters play. Vigilantes like Daredevil and The Punisher, detectives like Jessica Jones, and defenders like Luke Cage all live in the shadows, operating in ways and doing things that the Avengers can't.

We long to sit by a campfire and listen to stories that distract us from the world. We hunger to step outside ourselves and into lives different from our own, faced with struggles that are simultaneously fantastic and relatable.

None of us can leap tall buildings with a single bound, or are faster than a speeding bullet, but we all know what it feels like to be confronted with a problem that can only be solved with resolve. We all know that strength comes in many forms: physical, intellectual, emotional.

The main cast of The 100 standing on a rocky set

Addictive apocalyptic series The 100 is one of the many fantasy shows great for binge-watching.

Frank Ockenfels 3/The CW

The modern campfire is the television (or, yes, whatever screen you're currently sitting in front of). But that same impulse for escapism remains.

And genre fiction—superheroes, science fiction, adventure, pulp—casts off the flickers that keep us warm at night. Because if those heroes can deal with their demons—demons that are literally bent on destroying the world—then maybe we've got a shot at dealing with our own.

Originally published in Watch Magazine, July-August 2018.

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