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Monday, July 28, 2014


KEEP YOUR BRAIN YOUNG (Robert Rose, 2014, 384 pages, ISBN 978-0-7788-0472-7, $24.95 CAN soft covers) is by Fraser Smith, ND, prominent naturopathic academic, and Ellie Aghdassi, PhD, RD, dementia researcher and academic in Toronto. It is a book in line with other self-health books from Rose, covering arthritis, skin, diabetes, liver, et al. Because we are all growing older, we need to keep our brains in shape to avoid neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. It is more important than ever to age well. The book deftly summarizes the issues on age-related diseases, proposes a 12-step healthy brain diet to help prevent or delay damage, and has 150 recipes done up in Rose style, with tips and notes and nutrient tables. Recipes come from other Rose books, and these are noted as to author or authority. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no overall table of equivalents.  At the end there are periodical and book references as well as websites and web-pages listed.
Audience and level of use: those interested in a program to prevent brain damage.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: the number of those with Alzheimer's is expected to triple by 2050. Anti-oxidants from fruits and veggies can protect the brain against disease. The brain can make new neural connections in the elderly.
Quality/Price Rating: 87.
4.HOMEGROWN TEA; an illustrated guide to planting, harvesting, and blending teas and tisanes (St.Martin's Griffin, 2014, 272 pages, ISBN 978-1-250-03941-5, $23.99 US paper covers) is by Cassie Liversidge, a UK gardener-food writer who last wrote Grow Your Own Pasta Sauce, about eating home grown food. Here she looks at tea gardening (backyard, balcony, and window sill). She delves into growing tea from seeds, cuttings and small plants. She gives details on when and how to harvest, plus how to prepare and dry the teas for year-long storage. She's got sections on nutritional and medicinal benefits as well as an illustrated guide on prepping fresh and dried teabags. Arrangement is by part of the plant: leaves, followed by seeds, fruits, flowers, and roots. There is also a plant reference chart, and index of plants, and some recommended sources.
Audience and level of use: a book for the tea completist.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: under sage, she lists varieties and botanical names, medical benefits, growing, harvesting, making the tea, some relevant tips for making bag blends – as well as an illustration of the leaves.
The downside to this book: no recipes for cooking with teas.
The upside to this book: good encouragement for tea drinkers.
Quality/Price Rating: 88.
6.THE FRENCH COOK: souffles (Gibbs Smith, 2014, 128
pages, ISBN 978-1-4236-3612-0, $21.99 US hard covers) is by Greg Patent, a Bear Award winning author for 2002, a blogger, and radio host. This is the third in a new series on French cuisine, here dealing with the basics of souffles: mainly how to beat eggs and how to create the sauces. There are photos and step-by-step techniques. The basic souffles are here (hot, cold, sweet, savoury, molded, unmolded) plus more and some variations are noted. The book is set up as a primer for beginners. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is a table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: beginner
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: leek and pancetta souffle; fennel and salmon; chocolate; vanilla; fresh fruit; almond and praline.
Quality/Price Rating: 88.
9.GLUTEN-FREE MADE EASY (Front Table Books, 2014, 268 pages, ISBN 978-1-4621-1408-5, $22.99 US paper covers) is by Christi Silbaugh and Michelle Vilseck. Silbaugh is an active blogger, with three on the go, plus lots more food social media interactions; her daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2009. Vilseck has needed to be gluten-free for the past 11 years or so. Together they have created more than 150 preps in this book plus the tips and tricks involved in putting the dishes together. There's a primer (here, called FAQ) and some resources, plus a glossary and endnotes. The thrust here is on family cooking, so there are lots of things that kids could make, eat and enjoy. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there are also tables of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: those who need GF foods.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: raspberry breakfast bars; peanut butter power balls; cauliflower pizza crust and cheesy bread; parmesan crusted halibut; mini-taco salads; flour-free cloud bread.
The downside to this book: like many other GF books, this one – sadly – has no "chewy" bread recipe. It's the Holy Grail of GF food.
The upside to this book: I love the large print and the bolding of the ingredient lists.
Quality/Price Rating: 88.
11.THE GREEK YOGURT KITCHEN (Grand Central Life & Style, 2014; distr. Hachette, 242 pages, ISBN 978-1-4555-5120-0, $20 US paper covers) is by Toby Amidor, MS, RD, a top nutrition advisor and consultant to major groups, including Here she gives us a basic yogurt cookbook, using Greek yogurt as the base since it is a trendy power food. And with seven log rollers. So long as the nutritional benefits of Greek yogurt carry through, then you can cook with it. Otherwise, it may be best just as it comes out of the fridge. It's a form of yogurt that has been strained to remove a lot of the whey, which results in a lower fat content and higher protein content. This also means that it has lower levels of lactose. If you have to, you could substitute just about any unflavoured organic yogurt. Whatever you do, you must check the label to see what is in the yogurt: go for simple, cultured, and unflavoured. The 133 recipes here are a beginning. They range from traditional breakfast food through snacks, apps, salads, mains, and desserts. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is a table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: those who are lactose sensitive, health food fans.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: crustless mushroom quiche; buttermilk chicken fingers; mexican-sty6led creamed corn; coconut lemon cookies; dulce de leche bowl.
The downside to this book: the use of "Greek" yogurt is overplayed when other forms can also be used.
The upside to this book: good selection of recipes, including one for making your own low-fat Greek yogurt by straining out the whey.
Quality/Price Rating: 87.
13.THE HUNGRY GIRL DIET (St. Martin's Griffin, 2014, 285 pages, ISBN 978-0-312-67679-7, $26.99 US hard covers) is by celebrity Lisa Lillien, author and TV personality of a series of Hungry Girl books going back five years – over 2 million were sold. She's got (with a free companion app to create shopping lists and track one's food) and shows on the Food Network and Cooking Channel. Here she proposes a diet of big portions, big results, and dropping 10 pounds in four weeks. It has all been vetted by David Grotto, RD. There are 60 easy recipes, including Hungry Girl classics such as oatmeal bowls, egg mugs, salads, and foil packs. And the usual tips, tricks, hints, strategies, how-tos, and food swaps or substitutions. The emphasis, as always, is on lean protein, fat-free and reduced dairy, fresh fruits and vegetables, and huge portions for volume. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Quality/price rating: 85.
19.RAWLICIOUS AT HOME; more than 100 raw, vegan and gluten-free recipes to make you feel great (Appetite by Random House, 2014, 174 pages, ISBN 978-0-449-01618-3, $29.95 paper covers) is by Angus Crawford and Chelsea Clark, founders and co-owners of a Rawlicious mini-chain/franchise in Toronto and southern Ontario (six in all, and one just around the corner from me). This is an easy cookbook, inspired by their own resto dishes, for home preps. There is a full ranger here from drinks/smoothies, breakfasts, apps, soups, right through to desserts. There is even a section of 12 preps for common staples such as pizza crust, burger buns, tortillas, herb and onion flatbreads, and various "cheeses" from nuts. A primer covers the "raw life" and pantry/larder. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is a table of metric equivalents. Typical recipes embrace a raw/vegan/gluten-free side of pad Thai, nori rolls, coffee cheesecake, and mint chocolate chip ice cream. Lots of white space and large type is a good thing here for the kitchen, but the typeface for the index is smaller than it could be. Quality/price rating: 87.
21.GALE GAND'S LUNCH (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014, 256 pages, ISBN 978-0-54422650-0, $27.99 US hard covers) is by a Bear Award winner and co-founder of TRU in Chicago. She has made multiple appearances on Food Network shows, including hosting Sweet Dreams. She's written seven other cookbooks. Focusing writer Christie Matthews is a food writer, and coauthor of other food books, including one other book with Gale Gand. To complete the picture there is an A-list of log rollers, including Batali, Cat Cora, Moulton, and Dupree. Gand tries to re-invent lunch, steering people away from a medley of breakfast leftovers and vending machines and food courts, to some decent and relevant food. There are 150 heal;thy and homemade lunches here. Some of them are school lunches, while others are picnics or midday parties. All of it is fine, but it helps to have kids to partially prepare their own meals, and there is still the problem of socializing at work. There is a vast difference between eating at your desk, in a work lunchroom, and in a food court. Although, maybe with social media, we actually no longer have to talk to anybody over lunch – just text your way through the meal. Rustic ratatouille tart shines, as does a variety of veggie and fruit salads. Chipotle cheddar biscuits are filling, and Israeil couscous with cranberries and toasted pecans is something new. Well worth looking at, although time can be a problem. Healthwise, lunch should be the biggest meal of the day, loaded with energy and protein and carbos – to sustain you.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 86.
22.TEA & TREATS; perfect pairings for brews and bakes (Ryland Peters & Small, 2014; distr. T. Allen, 144 pages, ISBN 978-1-84975-497-2, $24.95 US hard covers) is by Liz Franklin, a finalist in the BBC Masterchef competition, BBC food host and producer, and now cookery school owner and food writer. She's written two other cookbooks. Here she offers us ideas on tea time. She has 60 recipes matching tea and sweet treats. She defines the types of teas and then proposes a small baked good. So for white sweet tea (pai mu tan), there is cardamom shortbread; for fennel tea, there is lemon and almond financier. For teas you don't like, you can always make the treat and have them with something comparable. The major arrangement is by class: breakfast tea, calming tea, different tea, afternoon tea, and dinner party tea. It is a great gift book for a tea lover. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. There is also a sources list (UK and US only). Quality/price rating: 85.
33.THE WHOLE LIFE NUTRITION COOKBOOK; a complete nutritional and cooking guide for healthy living (Grand Central Life and Style, 2014; distr. Hachette, 449 pages, ISBN 978-1-4555-8189-4, $26 US paper covers) is by Alissa Segersten (once a personal chef and now cooking instructor) and Tom Malterre (an academic nutritionist). Together they also run the Whole Life Nutrition website. Here are over 300 "whole foods" recipes, including gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and egg-free dishes. Almost something for everyone. It was originally published in 2008, and it is now updated into virtually a brand-new book. Even the bibliography is current: there are references to 2014 works. It is thorough and comprehensive, beginning with a primer on diet sensitivities, the need for whole foods, the larder, the equipment, the cooking techniques. The recipes are arranged by courses, from soups to desserts, with diversions to smoothies, bacteria-cultured foods, whole grains, dips and sauces, snacks and beverages. All with large type, easy to use instructions, and tips/tricks. There is also a web resources listing; there's more at, courses, newsletters, blogs). Various diets are discussed as there is some benefits in every one of them. I could not find any discussion on alcoholic beverages, not even through the index. While there is a table of US equivalents (weights and volumes), preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 88.
34.TRUE FOOD; season, sustainable, simple, pure (Little,
Brown, 2012, 2104, 255 pages, ISBN 978-0-316-12940-4, $19 US
paper covers) is by Andrew Weil and Sam Fox, with Michael
Stebner. Weil is well-known for his books and columns on
alternative health practices and issue (including many food
recipes). He is partner with Sam Fox in the True Food
Kitchen chain. Stebner is the executive chef of these
restaurants. The work comes heavily endowed with log
rollers Alice Waters and Marion Nestle. This is the 2014
paperback reprint. It's a book based
on SLOFE principles (seasonal, local, organic, fast, and
easy); there are about 150 recipes adapted from the six
restaurant chain. The important thing you need to know
about Andrew Weil is that the guy is completely
trustworthy: he has impressed me for over 20 years. Other
than that, this is good food with plenty of explanations
from Weil and a pantry to start up. You cannot go wrong
here. There are good illustrations and sufficient white
space in the book's layout. The chapters follow a daily
meal, with breakfast, appetizers, salads, soups, mains,
pasta, veggies, desserts and drinks (only a few with
alcohol). This is a good book for the struggling dieter –
you will get your appetite sated. Dishes include chocolate-
banana tart, stir-fried long beans with citrus-sesame
sauce, bibimbap, bison umami burger, and halibut with
fingerling potatoes. There are no tables of nutritional
sources. Preparations have their ingredients listed in
avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric
equivalents, which is a shame for international sales.
Quality/price rating: 88.
35.CROHN'S & COLITIS DIET GUIDE. 2D ed (Robert Rose, 2008, 2014, 336 pages, ISBN 978-0-7788-0478-9, $24.95 CAN soft covers) is by A. Hillary Steinhart, MD, Mount Sinai Hospital, and Julie Cepo, RD. It accompanies Dr. Steinhart's Crohn's & Colitis Understanding & Managing IBD (also in a second edition). The major part of the book, here revised since its 2008 publication date, is a FAQ about food and IBD, along with a primer on causes, symptoms and therapies. These are proven dietary strategies for managing IBD, with menus and meal planning, tips on maintaining good nutrition, and 175 recipes. Over 25 new ones have been added, to take into account new foods such as banana cinnamon quinoa waffles, or new techniques such as slow cooker squash couscous. The preps largely come from two dozen Rose cookbooks, which have been vetted, of course, for their IBD relationship. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no overall table of metric equivalents. Each recipe has been noted as vegetarian or vegan, low cal, low fat, high protein, lactose, fibre, sodium, and others. Lots of tips for following a low fibre diet. Quality/price rating: 87.
36.THE GLUTEN-FREE TABLE; the Lagasse girls share their favorite meals (Grand Central Life & Style, 2012, 2014, 230 pages, ISBN 978-1-4555-1687-2, $17 US soft covers) is by Jilly and Jessie Lagasse, daughters of Emeril Lagasse. It was originally released in hardback in 2012, and this is the paperback release. In 2004 Jilly was diagnosed with celiac disease. Jessie, at some point, needed to follow a gluten-free diet. Both of course have been food-inspired by their upbringing, so it seemed to be a no-brainer that a gluten-free cookbook was in the shaping. They have taken their fave preps from childhood and family and redeveloped them into tasty, celiac-friendly alternatives.
There's about 100 recipes, of family favourites, Southern classics, and
ten original preps from Emeril himself. It's all arranged by course,
from apps to sweets. Preparations have their ingredients listed in
avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
There's a concluding list of resources and website. Some interesting or unusual recipes redefine Southern food: cornbread and Andouille stuffed pork chops; baked halibut with creole tomato and Vidalia onion vinaigrette; cheesy shrimp and crab grits; mini goat cheese and fig pizzas. Quality/Price Rating: 88.
38.DELICIOUS DIABETES COOKING FOR ONE OR TWO PEOPLE (Robert Rose, 2014, 144 pages, ISBN 978-0-7788-0476-5, $19.95 CAN paper covers) is by Michelle Berriedale-Johnson, founder of the Free From Food Awards (food allergy/intolerance). It was originally published in 2013 in London by Grub Street. These preps have been specifically designed for one or two (they can be scaled upwards), and can be used by anyone who needs low-sugar restrictions. With some modifications they can also be used for managing dairy or gluten allergies. Everything is fairly easy. Each prep has full nutritional analysis, larger type face, and tips. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements. Arrangement is by course, from apps and soups to baked goods and desserts. Typical are herb frittata, moules marinieres, pasta and broccoli gratin, and cod with chilies. Quality/price rating: 87.
43.BLOOD SUGAR: quinoa & healthy living (New Holland, 2013; distr. T.Allen, 128 pages, ISBN 978-1-74257456-1, $19.99 US paper covers) is by Michael Moore. It is a collection of previously published recipes from his Blood Sugar cookbook series, with some additional new preps using quinoa. Moore has owned or managed numerous restaurants in London and Sydney, including the Ritz Hotel London and the Bluebird London. He is currently the chef and owner of O Bar and Dining in Sydney. This is basically a diabetic book (Moore is a diabetic) but also one for clean, healthy living. It is divided into meals, with breakfast, light meals and snacks, mains and desserts. He's got figs on toast with ricotta, hot milk and barley porridge, homemade breakfast bars, plank-roasted salmon with quinoa tzatziki, strawberry quinoa custard pie, and more. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there are tables of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 85.


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