Monday, August 9, 2010

cookbook stash: the mediterranean diet cookbook

I'm going to share the most beloved cookbook in my collection. The one that has been used and adored above all others. The one that actually belongs to my mother but very conveniently found its way into my bookcase.

The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook by Nancy Harmon Jenkins is a hefty tome (500+ pages) chock full of fresh and flavorful dishes from the Mediterranean region. You'll find food from Greece, Italy, France, Tukey, Tunisia, Israel, and more. All the recipes are authentic and are accompanied by detailed information on the history and ingredients.

I have a hardcover edition that once wore a dust jacket, but now sits naked on my bookshelf. The pages are thick and sturdy, but there are no photographs of the food. Each recipe lists nutritional information per serving, which is convenient for those who are trying to lose weight.

The author is well-informed and cites nutritional information from reputable sources to back up her claims of the healthfulness of the Mediterranean diet. There is also a introduction written by two doctors and professors, one from Athens, the other from Harvard. This lends credence to the lifestyle, and I think it's a beneficial asset that my other cookbooks lack.

The recipes are arranged in nine chapters, but they make sense and are easy to navigate. In the back there is a useful section on cooking/preparation methods, materials, and ingredients. After this you can find a resources section, with information on where to purchase necessary ingredients and kitchen tools. One of my favorite features is a Mediterranean Diet Pyramid from the Harvard School of Public Health. You'll also find extensive explanations accompanying the pyramid. Anyone armed with this cookbook and information can make a switch to a healthy, rewarding lifestyle.

This is a great choice in cookbook for anyone looking to get healthy. I would also recommend it for people who just love the flavors of the Mediterranean. It would be a good choice for vegetarians, as well. Though a lot of dishes contain meat, there are a lot that don't. Some of my very favorite recipes come from this book. It has great techniques for pizzas, stocks, Greek pies, sauces, and more.

The cookbook is a bit on the pricey side at $35, but I consider it a good investment for such a useful book. The book was first published in 1994 (this is the edition I own), but a new edition was published in 2008. Another downfall for this book is that some of the dishes might be challenging for a novice cook, but there are simple recipes as well. A lot of the dishes take a long time, so it might not be compatible for those with an "on-the-go" lifestyle.

Best features: knowledge and resources on lifestyle, nutritional facts for recipes
Recipes worth trying: Hummus Bi Tahini, Tzatziki, Tabbouleh, Grape Leaves Stuffed with Meat and Rice, Pasta Salad from Capri, Provencal Chick-Pea Soup, "Armenian" Bread from Cyprus, Baked Chick Peas in Tomato Sauce, Kourabiedes
Yay or Nay? Yay! This would be a beneficial cookbook for just about anybody!
Purchase here: The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook: A Delicious Alternative for Lifelong Health

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