Thursday, March 12, 2015

Beyond Gadgetry: Inspiralized is an interesting addition to the cookbook shelf

INSPIRALIZED is another cookbook based on a successful blog. Unlike others of that ilk, it is primarily based on using the 'spiralizer', a useful kitchen gadget combination of an old fashioned sausage-cranking machine and a multi-bladed mandolin. That being said, there are some nice recipes included especially if you like Italian food.

The more valuable section to me was the chapter on the best vegetables to use as well as how to cut them for maximum benefit for use in the machine. Maffucci also included tips on how to minimize the sometimes excess moisture using freshly-cut vegetables as pasta involves. I also greatly appreciated that most of the recipes include a section giving a list of other vegetables that could be used to make that dish, and all of the recipes include comprehensive nutritional information for each serving of the recipe.

I am not a huge fan of kitchen gadgetry. Even so I bought myself a spiralizer and tried it out using INSPIRALIZED and Ali Maffucci's tips.  Last night a dish that used to take 25 minutes prep took me ten minutes. Adding some delicious daikon to my ramen took less than a minute for lunch yesterday. Because of allergies in my household (allergies to dairy and citric acid) there are several of the recipes I can't use without modification, and there are other recipes whose complexity is a bit too fussy for my personal cooking style but overall, if you have any interest in using the 'spiralize' style vegetable processors available, INSPIRALIZED may be a significantly useful addition to your shelf, I certainly am glad to have it.

Author: Ali Maffucci
Publication Date: February 24, 2015
Publisher: Clarkson Potter
Format: Paperback
Available From: Random House
Price: $19.99
Genre: cookbook, healthy, low-carb, gadget
Details: indexed

(Blogging For Books has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.) 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Healthy Recipes, Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

Based on thorough research drawn from reputable sources, Rebecca Katz's follow-up to her cancer-fighting cookbooks and longevity cookbook is a refocusing of information touched on in her earlier publications. Although she (and her co-author Mat Edelston) in no way advocate eschewing more mainstream treatment THE HEALTHY MIND COOKBOOK is most definitely a strong addition to the bookshelf of anyone interested in more holistic tools for the prevention and treatment of diseases like dementia, depression, ADHD and the brain fog that often accompanies chronic pain.

After an introductory chapter on culinary pharmacopeia, she plunges into more than a hundred tempting recipes that even my allergy-challenged household can use as is, or easily adapt to our circumstances. The eight-page, double-columned index is quite useful and the extensive bibliography makes my geeky heart go pitter-pat but the best section in my opinion is the resource listings where even someone in a more rural setting can source the ingredients used in Rebecca Katz's creations.

As a kitchen dabbler, I have already used the culinary pharmacopeia as a starting point for some of my own recipes and look forward to exploring more of THE HEALTHY MIND COOKBOOK in the near future. Even people new to cooking will find it useful, though. There is a wonderful section on how to approach cooking from scratch and each of the recipes provides tips on substitutions that can work with what you might have on hand.  I highly recommend THE HEALTHY MIND COOKBOOK, it is one of the gems on my kitchen shelf.

ISBN: 978-1-60774-297-5
Author: Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelston
Publication Date:February 2015
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Format: Hardcover
Available From: Random House
Price: $29.99
Pages: 245
Genre: Cooking, Health
Details: Index, Bibliography, Resources

(Blogging For Books has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Q & A a Day: Short Attention Span Journaling

Five-year journals are nothing particularly new, I believe they were readily available in Victorian times, for example. The difference between standard journals and Q & A A DAY: 365 Questions, 5 Years, 1,825 Answers and the rest of the pack is that each calendar day (including February 29th) has a writing prompt in the form of a question, request or fill-in-the-blank statement. Today's was 'The weather outside is _______" for example.  The book is fairly sturdy with nicely gilded page edges. I can see this lasting me five years. I think the enjoyment will kick in after the first full year, when I can begin to look back at previous year's answers.
I have had trouble keeping up a journal despite my love of writing. I tend to make a nice entry or seven, then lose them. When I find them later I enjoy reading my entries, but am frustrated by my lack of sticktoitiveness. I think keeping this small (roughly six by four inch) book beside my chair will be eminently doable. Time will tell.

Publication Date: November, 2010
Publisher: Potter Craft
Format: Hardback
Available From: Random House
Price: $16.99
Pages: 368
Genre: Non-Traditional Book

(Blogging For Books has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Provence, 1970: A Glimpse Into a Time of Transition

Whether you are a foodie familiar with all the characters who met that fateful winter, or just someone who recognizes a few of the names, Luke Barr's PROVENCE, 1970 reveals a glimpse into a time of transition during which the U.S. began to loosen it's desperate grasp on all things French and seek our own  sources of identity, especially in the world of food.

Using obscure letters and journal entries as source material, Barr does a skillful job of building his narrative from the various points of view involved. He appropriately weaves the food and setting into the broader dynamics of strong personalities with the sometimes too-cozy world of gastronomes.

Anyone interested in the locavore and other food-centric movements that appear to be so fresh and new will be fascinated at the relatively long history that led to the current state of awareness of food and how it infuses our lives.

Author: Luke Barr
Publication Date: November, 2014
Publisher: Clarkson Potter
Format: paperback
Available From: Random House
Price: $15
Pages: 320
Genre: Non-Fiction, Culinary History

 (Blogging for Books has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.)