By: Bindu Grandhi
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc.
Publication Date: July 2009
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: August 2009
More and more Americans are looking for healthy, yet tasty, ways to prepare their family’s meals. Unfortunately, it can be quite a challenge to offer more than the same old salads and other standard low fat, low sodium, fare while keeping family members interested. Enter Bindu Grandhi and her new cookbook, Spice Up Your Life: The Flexitarian Way.
The author, in her introduction, recalls spending her summers in India, learning to cook at her grandmother’s side. Grandhi’s grandmother refused to use anything but the freshest ingredients, and used a variety of fruits and vegetables in her cooking which Grandhi has carried forth into her cooking. She has, in addition, added “flexitarianism” to her food preparation, explaining that this term means "...a primarily plant-based diet composed of grains, vegetables, and fruits, which also occasionally includes protein from lean meat, fish, poultry, or dairy. This diet is low in saturated fat and high in fiber..."
I tested several recipes from Spice Up Your Life and found them all to be tasty and fairly easy to prepare. Preparation times varied from 5 to 10 minutes (mostly for side dishes and sauces) to 20 or 25 minutes for main courses. Cooking times were surprisingly short, averaging 15 to 20 minutes.
When using this cookbook, be sure to read through the recipe completely before starting. Many meals require a sauce which is found on a different page and you’ll find yourself flipping back and forth between the two pages. This certainly isn’t uncommon for a cookbook but you may find it is easiest if the sauce is prepared first. The recipes offer a variety of tastes, many of which are not commonly found in the typical American dinner. From coconut to ginger and turmeric, your taste buds will enjoy the experience.
In addition to testing these recipes with a family more familiar with hamburgers and hotdogs, we also had a friend, a native of India, who is familiar with the various regional offerings of his country, and is a fabulous cook, try out several recipes. He reports that these meals are not typical Indian fare which tend to be heavy on coriander and curry (and fairly spicy), but instead offer a more delicate taste, reminiscent of European fare. He even decided to test one recipe from this cookbook, Chicken with Spiced Cashew and Almond Sauce, for a large dinner party. The meal was a big hit and drew positive comments from all his guests.
Quill says: You’ll spice up your cooking and eat healthier with this new cookbook!