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Seamus Mullen's Hero Food: How Cooking with Delicious Things Can Make Us Feel Better [Hardcover]

Seamus Mullen
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 24, 2012
Celebrity chef Seamus Mullen offers 130 healthy and tasty recipes that utilize 18 key ingredients, or “hero foods,†to improve your well-being.

"After being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, Manhattan restaurateur Mullen modified his diet to improve his well-being. His debut cookbook, which pairs traditional Spanish cuisine with rustic farm-to-table fare, highlights 18 ingredients ("Hero Foods") that help him manage his symptoms. Ajo Blanco with Sardine Confit and Octopus and Parsley Salad reflect Mullen's years of work and travel in Spain, while Crispy Tuscan Kale on the Grill and Slow-Roasted Lamb Shoulder highlight the bounty of his Vermont farm. Mullen's personal success lends clout to this study in holistic, inclusive eating." --Library Journal

From celebrity chef Seamus Mullen, Hero Food is not only a cookbook, but a personal philosophy of well-being. The subtitle says it all: "How Cooking with Delicious Things Can Make Us Feel Better."

Mullen was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis five years ago, and in that time, he has discovered how incorporating 18 key ingredients into his cooking improved his quality of life. In Hero Food, he shows how to make these key ingredients, or "hero foods," your cooking friends; they can be added to many dishes to enhance health and flavor.

Hero Food is divided into four sections, each devoted to a season. Each season is introduced with a richly imaged "movie," providing the context of Seamus's life and the source of many of the imaginative and beautiful recipes contained in each seasonal section.

Seamus's "heroes" are real food, elemental things like good meat, good birds, eggs, greens, grains, and berries. He cares about how his vegetables are grown, how his fruit is treated, and about the freshness and sustainability of the fish he uses. His hope is that you will eventually forget about why these recipes are good for you, and that you'll make them just because they taste good.

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Raised on an organic farm in Northeastern Vermont, Seamus Mullen learned early on the value of working with the land to bring a meal to the table. It was while living and studying in Burgos, Spain, that he developed a life-long love affair with the country's language, culture, and food.

Following his passion for food, Mullen moved to California to work with Chef Mike Fennelly at Mecca in San Francisco, where he was exposed to the bounty of West Coast seasonal produce. After relocating to New York City, he went on to open Crudo, where he conceptualized and created its Mediterranean-inspired menu. In 2003, Mullen returned to Spain and worked for six months at Mugaritz, Andoni Luis Aduriz's forward-thinking Michelin two-starred restaurant in the Basque country.

When Mullen returned to New York, he worked as executive sous chef at New York City's Brasserie 8 1/2, alongside executive chef Julian Alonzo. In 2006, he left to open Boqueria, an accessible Spanish tapas restaurant, and then expanded to Boqueria Soho in fall 2008. He plans to open Tertulia in the West Village in Fall 2011.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing (April 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1449407587
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449407582
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 1.1 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #101,982 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars TASTY FOOD THAT'S GOOD FOR YOU May 8, 2012
We're all familiar with the expression "You are what you eat" - seems there's a good bit of truth in that. While he looks the picture of robust hood health just a few short years ago Seamus Mullen, acclaimed chef and owner of New York's popular Tertulia, was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. After that he began to give serious consideration to what he ate and found that basing his cooking on 18 key ingredients very much improved his quality of life.

With Hero Food a colorfully illustrated recipe rich chapter is devoted to each of these ingredients from Chapter 1: Olive Oil to Chapter 18: Good Meat. In between are found Beans, Almonds, Eggs, Anchovies, Berries, Fish, Mushroom, Squash and a host of other ingredients that are not only healthful but deliciously served.

Mullen spent time in Spain working in restaurants, so many of his recipes have a decidedly Spanish flavor. Pea Tendrils a la Caralana is a personal favorite - pine nuts garbanzo beans and golden raisins result in a wonderful blend of sweet and salty. Warm Mushroom Salad is not to be missed nor is Blackberry and Almond Crumble. For that matter you'll find many "keepers" in this generous volume.

As Mullen writes, "I know there's no silver bullet, but I have discovered that some foods can make dramatic differences." Those foods are his Heroes. They may well be yours, too.


- Gail Cooke
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76 of 90 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book, disappointing recipes May 2, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I read my first review of this book in Rachel Ray's magazine, and then checked out the Amazon site to purchase. My 19 year old son became very, very ill in early January with an autoimmune disease (missed 3 months of college) and this book sounded like it could help him learn foods that would help keep him healthier for the rest of his life. I pre-ordered in early February - two books, one for him and one for me.

What I found in this book was one man's journey through the culinary world, with his rheumatoid arthritis a stumbling block, but really secondary to the theme. It was an autobiography, with great thoughts about food, wonderful text and photos, and recipes that read very well. The book is beautifully done.

However, it is NOT a book about cooking to help your body with autoimmune dieases. And many of the ingredients are unobtainable to the average person. I google searched for lots of the ingredients in the recipes I thought looked really great - and could not find a source for them.

It is a beautiful book - and I am not sorry to have it. I will try the recipes with substitute ingredients - but I wish I only had one copy.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get out of your comfort zone! May 18, 2012
Love this book. What impresses me the most is that Mullen's recipes aren't all simple, but they're all delicious, and, I would argue, healthier than what someone like Jamie Oliver or Rachael Ray might offer (though I love both those chefs). This book has challenged me to be a better cook. It also inspired me to eat more fish, which is so important in our diet but which so few of us remember to eat. I suffer from an auto-immune disease and was happy to see that this book adheres to the Mediterranean diet: rich in fish, beans and vegetables, featuring lots of low glycemic index and gluten-free foods. This book may not be for beginners (Mullen is a top-rated New York City chef, after all), but anyone who wants to take their cooking to the next level and still eat well is going to have a lot of fun with this book and learn a ton in the process.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely Goodness May 28, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
First, and I know that this is kind of off topic, but isn't Seamus Mullen the hottest cookbook cover guy ever? And, Seamus, if you read this, you can cook in my kitchen any old day!

I also have an RA diagnosis and, like our cute author, I have found food to be the best medicine (well, you know, after methotrexate, hydroxychloroquinine and prednisone). I could relate to his introduction on how his flares came with stress and poor self-care. The writing was touching without being whiny.

The organization of the book is perfect and eye catching. Each section celebrates a "Hero" with recipes that clearly illustrate how to create his dishes along with some pictures that are above and beyond what I expected. To the photographer, Colin Clark, excellent work! The books that use a blurry lens to fuzz out mishaps just make me mad. I can tell that you took the time to stage slightly without taking so long as to lose the sheen of oil or the feel of the moment.

As to those who cook, like me, this book is inspirational. I'm not a recipe follower, rather I'm a gleaner that takes the ideas and moves them into my own meals.

Parsley made a quick appearance after this book arrived to much success and accolades in the house. Then, baked and roasted root vegetables followed. I made the Tortilla Espanola because it's similar to something I already make frequently. I subbed sweet potatoes because I like them more! I began adding more fish to my meals too.

I'm looking forward to trying more of the egg dishes and I'll surely have a blast doing that.

Ok, now for the proof: did it help?
Yes, somewhat. Anytime I know I'm not the only one still working and living with RA is a good time.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This book has changed the way I eat, and ...
This book has changed the way I eat, and the way that every person I've ever shared it with eats as well.
Published 2 months ago by Jonathan M. Doctor
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great content. Beautiful images. Highly recommended.
Published 3 months ago by J. Dawson
2.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book, bad recipes
This is a beautifully produced book with gorgeous photographs. Tertulia is one of my favorite restaurants. The recipes, however, are poor. Read more
Published 4 months ago by LS
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid Information, a bit out of touch with reality.
Don't get me wrong, there is useful information to be found in this book. I'm also glad Mr. Mullens has found relief and better health, I will look to some elements of his cooking... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Brad W Engstrand
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
I have followed Seamus's for some time. Love the book and the recipe's. More than a cookbook. This is a great read and reference.
Published 5 months ago by VICK
3.0 out of 5 stars The book is OK
Beautiful pictures and interesting story of one man's search for what is good for his body. He acknowledges that he is not a nutritionist; he is a chef. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Sue Cummings
3.0 out of 5 stars It is OK
There are some good recipes and explanations of food here, I had seen him on Rachael Ray and wanted to check out his food choices...
But... when I got the book... Read more
Published 7 months ago by K. Bard
5.0 out of 5 stars New Companion
a great companion to how I treat my rheumatoid arthritis. It is full of useful information in addition to great recipes
Published 7 months ago by william stesney
4.0 out of 5 stars Great photos of delicious looking good foods
Incudes many great photos of delicious looking good foods and receipts. More information and science behind this RA diet would be helpful.
Published 8 months ago by Garth Groft
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting recipes!
Some of these recipes are actually acid producing. Though as the author mentions he did not necessarily chose his diet for it's alkaline procuding effect, but rather he chooses to... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Jessica
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