By: Linda Hafner
Publisher: Beaufort Books
Publication Date: April 2011
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: March 20, 2011
Once upon a time many people thought that eating “healthy” meant getting out a scale, weighing their food, counting calories and suffering in silence. With the advent of a push for the inclusion of fresh, healthy foods in our diets, more and more people are turning to locally grown foods. Seemingly simple fruits and vegetables come alive in Simple, Fresh & Healthy: A Collection of Seasonal Recipes. Take for example sweet potatoes. This common root vegetable is a favorite in the South and when Thanksgiving rolls around, it is one of our favored holiday side dishes. When browsing this book I was immediately drawn to a dish of “Maple-Roasted Sweet Potatoes.” The simple addition of two tablespoons of pure maple syrup added to the natural sweetness of the vegetable and will make this roasted dish a delightful addition to any meal at any time of the year.
Divided into seasonal sections, the book teems with scrumptious, mouthwatering recipes to suit every taste. Oftentimes I find that cookbooks have a tendency to be overly regional, cater to a slice of the population, or try a tad too hard to outdo the Julia Childs of the world. This book is totally refreshing and the unique recipes are sure to please a wide variety of people. Few people would turn down a nice cold glass of lemonade made from scratch on a hot summer day nor would many turn away from a warm French toast soufflé smothered in maple syrup on a cold winter’s day. There are recipes that will excite both the younger cook and those who have been cooking for many years. Perhaps you’ll simply need to whip up some fresh peach salsa, open a bag of chips, and start browsing this book!
Those with special dietary needs or the calorie conscious won’t be disappointed as each recipe comes with a complete nutrient analysis listed at the bottom. Few recipes list the preparation time, but this book is for the food lover who loves the preparation as much as they love to savor the results, not for those whose idea of a meal depends on prep time. Take for example, the recipe for “Fresh Strawberry Pie.” If you are not willing to wait for it to chill in the refrigerator for four hours after making it, you’d best buy frozen at your local grocery store and miss out on the treat of a lifetime with this to die for pie. Most of the recipes are prefaced by a brief personal vignette or preparation tip. The ingredients are colorfully highlighted so the cook can easily gather them up. The photographs are very enticing and elicited more than one “mmmmmm!” in this household. There is one relative that tries and very often succeeds in walking off with my new cookbooks, but this one will soon be going into hiding!
Quill says: If you want to experience natural, healthy, family cooking, this is one cookbook you simply won’t want to pass up!