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Mediterranean Light: Delicious Recipes from the World's Healthiest Cuisine Paperback – June 20, 2000


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Mediterranean Light: Delicious Recipes from the World's Healthiest Cuisine + The Very Best Of Recipes for Health: 250 Recipes and More from the Popular Feature on NYTimes.com + The Best Vegetarian Recipes: From Greens to Grains, from Soups to Salads: 200 Bold Flavored Recipes
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks (June 20, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688174671
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688174675
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 7 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #524,406 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

These dietetic-but-not-dull recipes, culled from Shulman's friends and fellow cooks, feature Italian, Greek, Middle Eastern and Southern French cuisines. Using relatively little olive oil, few fats and lean chicken and rabbit, Shulman ( Supper Club Chez Martha Rose ) "lightens" traditional fare. She claims that these recipes are designed for slow, steady weight loss, and, without putting forward a program of exercise, promises that "you won't gain the weight back." That's a strong claim for a diet cookbook that doesn't always specify exact portions for each dish. (Any 1200- to 1500-calorie-per-day diet requires strict portion control.) Dieters may be misled. For example, Shulman suggests eating bread with meals, but portion sizes are not in every instance listed clearly above each recipe's nutrient analysis. And ample menus--one includes crostini with porcini mushrooms, pasta e fagioli, swiss chard, a small green salad, and oranges with mint, plus one slice of bread, yielding approximately 830 calories--could lead easily to overindulgence.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Shulman's latest is sort of a low-calorie version of Paula Wolfert's books on Mediterranean cuisine. Author of The Vegetarian Feast and several other cookbooks, she has taken her favorite recipes from all the Mediterranean countries, cut down on oils and fats, changed cooking methods when necessary, and come up with lighter, healthier, authentic-tasting dishes. Nutrition information is included for each, but the audience for this book should not be limited to dieters. For both regional and special collections.-- JS
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author


For over 30 years I have been writing cookbooks devoted to eating well. A pioneer in vegetarian cooking, I began my career in 1973 at the age of 23. This was long before well-educated people from upper middle class backgrounds fantasized about becoming the next Food Network star or owning a successful restaurant. I was then a student at The University of Texas at Austin. I changed my major every semester, but my passion for cooking and for giving dinner parties was unwavering. I also had an interest in health, and combined the two in my approach to food, drawing upon many of the world's cuisines to create vegetarian dishes that were much better than the standard brown rice fare of the early 1970s. Culturally I was very much a product of my era, but as far as my cooking was concerned, I have always been way ahead of my time.
Once I'd had my epiphany about my calling, I developed a series of vegetarian cooking classes that I taught through the University of Texas Extension, and I opened a private "supper club" in my home. Every Thursday for two years I prepared a sit-down 3-course dinner for 30 people. My cozy "home restaurant" allowed me all the fun and few of the headaches of running a public restaurant, and at the same time gave me a place to experiment and develop a repertoire of dishes to showcase. I also learned to cook for a crowd. Soon I had a vegetarian catering service; I catered everything from breakfasts in bed and dinners for two to wedding receptions and conferences for two hundred.
I had also been, all along, a writer in search of a subject. I knew that I would write a cookbook, and when The Vegetarian Feast came out in 1979, my career had evolved from cook/caterer to food writer and cookbook author. The Vegetarian Feast won a 1979 Tastemaker Award (a precursor of the prestigious James Beard Awards) for Best Book, Health and Special Diets category, and remains in print.
I was never doctrinaire about vegetarian cooking; I just felt that I'd had my quota of meat by the time I reached the age of 21. I admired all good cooks, especially Julia Child, with whom I corresponded. In my first letter to her, a fan letter dated September 2, 1976 in which I described my cooking classes and my supper club, my catering service and the book I was trying to get published, I told her I was "trying to shed a new light on vegetarianism, to present it as an unmysterious, classical, and memorable cuisine. The art of cooking with an emphasis on nutrition as well as flavor is my interest, and because I am a vegetarian my cuisine is a meatless one."
Two years after the publication of The Vegetarian Feast I moved to Paris, where I continued to write cookbooks and articles, revived my Supper Club, and became a much better cook. During the twelve years I lived in France I traveled extensively in the Mediterranean to research its many cuisines. My book Mediterranean Light was published in 1989, just as the benefits of the Mediterranean diet were coming to light in the United States. The region continues to be my richest source of culinary inspiration.
To date, I have 27 cookbooks to my name. My work has been of a piece; not all of my books are vegetarian, but they all have a healthy focus. Several of my books have been nominated for cookbook awards and three have won them. In addition to the 1979 Tastemaker Award for The Vegetarian Feast, I've received the following nominations and prizes for my work:
*2001: International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP), The Best Vegetarian Recipes, Nominee, Single Subject category
*1995 James Beard Awards, Great Breads, Nominee, Bread and Pastry category
*1994 Bertolli Olive Oil Award, Provençal Light, First Prize, Health and Special Diets category, Julia Child Awards
*1991 International Association of Culinary Professionals, Entertaining Light, First Prize, Health and Diet category
*1991 James Beard Awards, Entertaining Light, Nominee, Entertaining category
*1989 Tastemaker, Mediterranean Light, Nominee, Health and Special Diets category
*1988 Tastemaker, Supper Club chez Martha Rose, Nominee, Entertaining category

My cooking continues to evolve, as I hone and simplify my recipes to make them accessible to a wide range of cooks. I feel that I have played a role in improving the eating habits of many Americans, particularly since I began writing a daily recipe feature called Recipes for Health for the health section of The New York Times on the Web, in 2008. Its purpose is to empower people to cook healthy meals every day by giving them straightforward, delicious recipes. Each week's column is themed around a fresh ingredient from the market, a pantry item or a type of dish, with a new recipe posted every day. The reader response has been enthusiastic; my recipes regularly appear in the "10 Most Emailed" list on the health page. It has been extremely satisfying to know that I am reaching so many people and having an impact on their cooking.

Customer Reviews

It has many easy to follow recipes.
Kathy B.
If you love cooking from this region, you will love this book.
J. T.
They loved everything I made from this book.
reader77

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

159 of 166 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 8, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Many of the recipes in this cookbook are okay, but when I ordered it I failed to notice that it contains a "Forward by Dean Ornish, M.D." That would have been the tip-off.
We all know that too much fat is bad for us, and like many Americans my husband and I eat "light" nowadays--nonfat dairy products; very little beef, lamb or pork; no butter or margerine; skinless chicken and turkey. But much has changed in the dietary world since Shulman's book was first published in 1989. We now know that there are "good" fats as well as bad ones, and that an EXTREMELY low fat diet can be almost as unhealthy as a high-fat one.
If you are vegetarian, this book will probably be useful to you. However, it contains only nine recipes that contain chicken (note that most are not truly "chicken dishes"). Few recipes contain cheese or dairy products of any kind, and most disturbing is her insistance on reducing the olive oil content of most dishes to a miniscule amount. She even includes a recipe for a traditional provencal onion pissaladiere (pizza) which always includes olives: she writes she "left out the olives . . .for the diet version"!
There are many, many excellent mediterranean cookbooks on the market without going to the extreme of Shulman's. Dr. Atkins and Dr. Ornish are at the opposite extremes of the twenty-year- long fat versus carb controversy. Try an alternative mediterranean cookbook and find yourself a satisfying middle ground. I suggest The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook or any of Paula Wolfert's cookbooks. Another, unfortunately out of print, is Mediterranean Cooking the Healthful Way by Marilyn Spieler--my personal favorite. Go ahead: drizzle, don't dump, olive oil on your food and pop a couple of kalamata olives in your mouth. It's okay!
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful By M.W.Bellido on April 21, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I've lost 50 lbs since I began using the book last July (It's April now). Ms Schulman's book has taught me to cook with less fat and choose foods that are very tasty but with no fat or less fat than I was used to before.
The foods are spicy, but I LOVE spicy. This is a Great book. I've given it to several friends and family members.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Winifred Bellido on January 29, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I wrote in April of 2000 that I had lost 50 lbs. I've lost another 20 lbs - 70 in all and maintain that loss now for almost 4 years using this cookbook. I have given it to many friends and relatives. It has changed my eating style for the better for life. Every time there's a news story about the best way to eat it mirrors what Ms Shulman teaches in her books. It's no chore eating this way. I love it.

I wrote that review 4 years ago. In July 1999 I weighed 240 lbs. Now February 2007 I weigh 145 lbs. Yes, almost 100 lbs loss. I now have Mexican Light and Provencial Light too and I love all of them. It's still easy to eat this way for life.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By reader77 on August 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
I decided it was time to write a review about the marvels of this book when I returned from a weekend of cooking 3 meals a day for my Step-Mother-in-Law (and other in-laws)in a little cabin over a long weekend. They loved everything I made from this book.

The recipes are delicious, easy to fix, and easy to follow. Not only have I had success cooking for the inlaws but my family has also loved every recipe. I have notation after notation that says "great" in the index so I can easily go back and find favorites. So far, there's nothing that says "bad" or "bland" next to a recipe title.

I am loosing weight using these recipes and my family is eating healthier too.

Some favorite recipes: Spinach with Chickpeas, Green bean and Garlic soup, and Tuna and Italian bean salad. Her broiled eggplant with garlic and rosemary turned my husband into a eggplant eater after a lifelong aversion to it.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By C. Ebeling on January 7, 2002
Format: Hardcover
My rule of thumb is, if you get three recipes that you cook regularly out of a cookbook, and you otherwise enjoy it, it has earned its selling price. Let's see: I use the recipes for hummus, white bean and tuna salad, tabouleh, semolina bread, that thing with chard and fish . . . and there's lots more. The author explains how to do it all from scratch, which is always good to know, but I've saved some time substituting already cooked beans and, when I don't have any I've made myself, I've used commercially produced, fat-reduced chicken stock. Nutritional data is provided for each dish.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By whool11 on March 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I have lots of cookbooks but few are as reliable as this one by Ms. Shulman. The lower-fat hummus recipe alone is worth the price of the book. (Another favorite is the Swiss chard soup.) This book was obviously a labor of love for the author. Thanks!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By J. T. on November 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I don't see how seafood, hummous, tzatziki, baba ghanoush and lentils make a book low-fat. The fact is, this book celebrates Mediterranean cuisine, and much of that cuisine is already low-fat. If you love cooking from this region, you will love this book. The recipes are simple, delicious, mostly easy, and even if when I just read the book for ideas, it inspires me.

It is true that the author modified some recipes to bring them into line with her healthy eating ethos. If you get the willies or heartburn from intake of mucho lard, this works wonderfully. I find the recipes delicious. They are packed with super-food ingredients, full of vitamins and minerals that will make you feel energetic, and not with hydrogenated fats or other proven culprits in heart disease, adult-onset diabetes, or cancer. As I understand it, the point of lowering intake of saturated fat is not necessarily to lose weight -- but to make your life long and healthy / enjoyable. I don't want to get diabetes or heart disease if I can prevent it. Both run in my family -- but for me, so far, at age 40, so good.

Before I continue on this paean, I'd better mention that I have never met the author nor her family or friends, I am not associated with her in any way -- and actually, I'm not a health nut -- just a normal mom trying to cook whole foods for our family. When this book taught me how to efficiently clean shellfish, coaxing them to open and so forth, instead of skipping that step like so many other cookbooks (which leads to sandy mussel broth unless you remember the process!), I knew it was a winner.

The recipes are simple, and true to the region.
Read more ›
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