My charming husband descends from a long line of East Indians who evolved on lentils and chapatis. Then they discovered that cows and white bread taste good, and they all got diabetes. So that he may continue to charm me for decades to come, I am stealthily investigating ways to return my husband to his vegetarian roots without him realizing. In a grand stroke of irony, he bought me The Food Matters Cookbook by Mark Bittman for my birthday.
Since I never really adhere to the recipes anyway, I judge a cookbook by how well the recipes serve as a launching pad. Did I learn something from it? Did it suggest new flavour combinations? Did it give me ideas about how to substitute what might be locally available and suitable for my diet? Is it long on information and short on photoshopped pictures? Because I can answer ‘yes’ to all these questions, I recommend The Food Matters Cookbook for your bookshelf.
The premise of the book is that by cutting back on animal protein and fat whilst increasing your consumption of whole grains and vegetables, you will benefit both your health and our ailing environment. The recipes range from vegan to meat-centric, but are all designed around this fundamental premise.
Highlights: Novel healthy ideas for dressings and sauces, new and convenient twists on staples. Prep time information was accurate and Bittman gives many helpful tips about methods, substitutions, and making dishes ahead. Beer-Glazed Black Beans with Chorizo and Orange, Corn-Avocado Salad, and Lamb Burgers with Brown Rice were all Top 10.
Lowlights: On occasion, Bittman’s recipes promise something that they don’t deliver. Creamy Cauliflower Mac tasted more like cauliflower baby food than like anything creamy, and Cabbage and Sauerkraut with Sausage tasted like a big Porky Fart.
If you want to know more: Refer to my detailed recipe notes: Food Matters