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3.8 out of 5 stars
The Healthy Kitchen: Recipes for a Better Body, Life, and Spirit
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251 of 255 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2002
I have made quite a few recipes from this book, and have found mistakes in almost all of them. It's as if nobody tested the recipes before the book was published. In one recipe the cooking time had to be almost doubled, in a recipe for muffins there was no mention of using any liquid (juice, milk, oil, etc.) to bind the ingredients together, and a recipe that was supposed to serve 6 people called for using 12 avocados. I have had to adapt most of the recipes because of this problem. I also found that the directions for preparation were sometimes vague. For example, the recipe would say to broil something for 3 minutes, but not tell you if that was total time or on each side. I would have given this book 5 stars if it weren't for the errors. Most of the recipes appealed to me and the commentary by Rosie and Dr. Weil was interesting to read. I suggest that they make corrections and reprint this book.
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89 of 91 people found the following review helpful
on July 8, 2002
This is not your standard cookbook and if it's bought with that expectation, the buyer will no doubt be disappointed in it. The book serves as much as a philosophical treatise on healthy eating as a cookbook, and from that standpoint it's interesting and successful as both a resource and motivational statement. However, the philosophizing takes up quite a bit of space and that results in a surprisingly small number of actual recopies.
That scarcity would be a problem if there were a lot of stinkers in the mix, but that is definitely not the case--this is very definitely a "quality over quantity" effort. I gave this to my wife for her birthday early this year and we've tried quite a lot of the recipes, and all have been delicious.
Some caveats: These are by and large recipes for the more sophisticated palate--don't expect to find a lot of things that children will like very much. Quite a few of the recipes are time intensive. Planning is essential. One the more intricate offerings, plan to do them on the weekend or when you can take the time to do it right. My personal advice is, when the authors have different visions of how to proceed (a common event here) go with Dr. Weil--Rosie tends to like thing on the blander side. Finally, this isn't really constructed to be a "full meal" cookbook. While there are sections for all major meal sections, there isn't often tremendous harmony on a "whole meal" basis. In other words, pick what of this work you want to use and work around it.
This is, essentially, a specialty cookbook. Use it that way and you'll find it's a gem.
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58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2002
This is an excellent book -- full of great information ... the only problem is that all of the recipes I have tried so far are lacking something or have an error in the measurements. I am shocked that none of the other reviews have mentioned this. I have always found Dr. Weil's books to be interesting and informative and this book is no exception. Rosie Daley adds a delightful and educational point of view as well. This could be a great cookbook but I am frustrated with having to scrutinize each recipe. I would like to see this book reprinted with the correct recipes.
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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on June 30, 2002
I was excited at the prospect of this cookbook because I really admire Dr. Weil, his philosophies and his books. Unfortuately the book was a disappointment in many ways.
Many of the recipes are complicated and time consuming. I am the mother of four children and don't have the time that's necessary for many of these recipes. Some examples include; Baked Wontons, Vegetable Nori Rolls, Vegetable Lasagna and Savory Lobster-Mushroom Crepe. These were all multi-stepped recipes.
You've probably guessed something else at this point, many of the recipes are not little child/family friendly. The thought of Lobster-Mushroom Crepes is enough to send my five, eight and eleven year old to get the cereal. My sixteen year old may appreciate it.
The biggest disappointment to me was that some of the recipes didn't taste good. I made Apple Cake Squares and they were so dry not even a dog would eat them. I made the Eggplant Rollatini with Spinach and Cheese Filling and although the eggplant part was great the Tomatoe Mushroom Sauce it called for was only passable.
What I did enjoy was the health tips interspersed throughout the book and the narratives by Dr. Weil and Rosie Daley. I would say again, that this book is not for people who are feeding young children or who are pressed for time at the dinner hour. The recipes are inventive, original, healthy and different but for me it wasn't the best choice.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on June 30, 2002
After reading Andrew Weil's Eating for Optimum Health, I was very excited that he was coming out with a cookbook. I thought the recipes in Eating for Optimum health were very flavorful. I bought The Healthy Kitchen the week it came out and have tried about half the recipes. My overall reaction is disappointment. Andrew Weil only contributed a small number of recipes (his greens with Tangy Dressing is fantastic) and they are as excellent as the recipes in Eating for Optimum Health. The problem is with Rosie Daley's recipes. First of all, she doesn't always use healthy ingredients (some recipes include butter, large amounts of sugar, sour cream, etc.) By far my biggest complaint is how careless her recipes are. The measurements are frequently inacurate. Some recipes are so spicey they are inedible and others so bland they need a lot a doctoring. The fish tacos is the only recipe of Rosie's that I haven't had to alter in some way. That being said, I would still recommend this book if you are trying to cook in a healthier way. Just approach Rosie's recipe's with a dose of skepticism and your intincts intact.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
`The Healthy Kitchen' by holistic medicine expert Andrew Weil, M.D. and professional chef Rosie Daley promises to be the very best union between expertise on food and health. It is not limited to simple weight reduction or to curing any other specific medical problem. It is true to the holistic doctrine of treating the whole person.
The book generally takes the form of a dialogue between the two authors. The contributions of the two different voices / areas of expertise are clearly delineated by printing them with a header indicating the speaker and differently colored pages to signify which voice is speaking.
Regarding the good doctor's contribution, I believe it is all sound, reflecting a synthesis of the most recent conventional wisdom on health and food. The value of this material will depend much on how much you have read in this area before reading this book. If you have read any of Weil's earlier books, especially the title `Eating Well for Optimum Health', you will have already read almost all of Weil's material reproduced on the his green pages in this book. Much of this information has also appeared in other recent books on nutrition; however, I believe there are several tips in the book on kitchen practices which are unlikely to appear in a book general nutrition. One example is Weil's comments on cooking oils, especially the recommendation to never heat oils to the smoking point and to never breath the smoke of heated oil, as it is highly toxic. This is why he recommends grapeseed oil, as it has a very high smoke point.
I am especially happy with Weil's bringing out the distinction between simple and complex carbohydrates and that in spite of the current low carb diet fads, one should not avoid all carbohydrates. Even more important is his discussion of the glycemic index of foods, which is a measure of how fast a food is converted from the gut into glucose in the blood. High glycemic index foods such as most sugars and starches have the undesirable effect of quickly raising blood sugar, triggering the production of insulin. This also has the effect of making you feel hungry again, soon after eating. Low GI foods remain in the stomach longer and maintain satiation longer.
The culinary half of the partnership is shared by the two authors, with Ms. Daley providing the recipes and Dr. Weil providing `color commentary' and comments on the health benefits and risks of various cooking techniques. All recipes include a nutritional analysis, giving the weight in grams of calories, fat, saturated fat, protein, carbohydrate, cholesterol, and fiber per serving. The serving size is not indicated directly. Rather, the recipe gives the number of servings in the dish. Given the totally acceptable variability in the practices of home cooks and the variability of nutritional content of ingredients, I would use these figures only as a means of comparing one recipe to another. As usual, portion sizes seem to me to be rather small.
The recipes are divided into very familiar headings, giving us chapters on: Breakfast, Beverages, Appetizers, Salads, Soups, Entrees, Accompaniments, and desserts Desserts. The last chapter gives a week's worth of menus with a composite nutritional analysis for the entire day's menu.
The selection of dishes fits your expectations for a healthy eating book. There are no beef or veal dishes and the authors flatly state that they are excluded to avoid saturated fat and environmental toxins. On the positive side, there are several pasta dishes. Dr. Weil offers the very wise suggestion that he typically looks to Oriental cuisines for his pasta recipes instead of to Italy, as Oriental dishes have less fatty sauces. There are many fish, shellfish, chicken, and tofu dishes, plus an emphasis on grilling and roasting techniques.
Overall, the book borders on but does not enter the world of dietary extremism parodied by a menu of tofu, bean sprouts, and wheat germ. It celebrates things like garlic that many people enjoy and which are also good for you. It devalues carob as a pale imitation of chocolate and endorses chocolate in moderation, especially as an accompaniment to fruit.
If you have a limited budget for cookbooks and are concerned about food and health, this is a very, very good book. The list price is lower than almost any other recent hardcover cookbook you are likely to find and the recipes are very good. They are not simple. This is not quick cooking a la Rachael Ray. My only concern with the book's nutritional advice is that it may be just a bit dated. It touts the benefits of garlic; however, I think the nutritional value of garlic has been devalued recently. It is still tasty and quite safe.
My main concern with the culinary material in the book is that it does not adequately provide a good substitute for white bread. While bread appears in one chapter title, it does not appear in the index and the closest I can find to a bread recipe is a recipe for blueberry pancakes. This may be too much to ask from a $27 book, but it would have made the book a lot better.
Highly recommended, especially if you own no other books on nutrition by Dr. Weil. Requires some preexisting culinary skill. Not fast cooking.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2002
This book is wonderful! I've cooked two of the recipes already this weekend -- they were easy and took me about 10 minutes to do. The tomatoe corn soup and the broccoli and avocado salad turned out great and my friends loved them. Bravo for teaming up a world-class chef with a doctor who knows about healthy cooking and eating. I'm sold!!!
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2002
OVERVIEW: This book is not only about healthy and delicious recipes. Intermixed is also basic nutritional information, tips about shopping and stocking your kitchen, food preparation techniques, a menu-planning guide, and the introduction of foods and ingredients not commonly used.
I believe this book is intended for a typical American consumer who: 1) wants to eat more healthy but doesn't know how or where to start, 2) is confused about what nutritional information is important and what isn't, 3) is unaware of food alternatives (such as olive oil or nut milk), or 4) wants to add healthy and delicious recipes to their repertoire (try the muesli for breakfast!).
FLAWS: As some reviewers have noted, additional editing would have caught some the errors and discrepancies in the recipes. A time estimate could also have been included for the recipe preparation. However, the errors are at most an annoyance (you are still be able to make the food), and I believe there is good number of quick and simple recipes, along with some that are more elaborate.
Some of the reviewers who gave low ratings appear to be "hard-core" nutritionalists, who complain about the use of some ingredients. These people have already researched their diet and eating habits and are not the typical consumer, yet I am sure they have picked up a few insights and recipes.
OVERALL: As Dr. Weil stated, "good nutrition is one of the most important influences on health". Most people can benefit from eating healthier, and this book serves as a great resource for both recipes and nutritional information. This book has a great chance to be a hit for people on your holiday shopping list.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2002
Dr. Weil and Ms. Daley have written what will be the standard text for the new healthy cuisine that tastes great and makes a positive contribution to ones overall health and well-being. This is not spa food, which I find to be rather bland. It is much more flavorful fare that will satisfy everyone who loves great food.
The book is beautifully designed and the recipes are rounded out by Dr. Weil's thoughts on the many joys and health benefits of food.
"The Healthy Kitchen" is a "must buy" for all home chefs -- novice to expert.
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101 of 119 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2003
If the recipes here were written clearly (they're not) and you were a novice cook, you'd find enough basics to get a good grounding in healthful cooking. As it is: kitchen disaster on most pages. If, on the other hand, you were an experienced cook, you'd know where the recipes miss the mark --- but then again, you could find far better ones elsewhere. Examples: a pancake/waffle batter that is fat free, as far as the ingredient list goes, but unlisted in the ingredient list, buried in the directions for pancakes, is 1/4 teaspoon butter, for greasing the griddle. First off, if butter is called for, list it in the ingredients. But secondly, why not use a non-stick skillet in the first place, and/or a spray of oil? And thirdly, the recipe says that you do not need to add more butter to the pan. This is probably not true, unless you are using a non-stick or have a superbly seasoned skillet --- which amateur cooks would not know. And fourthly --- when you get to the waffle variation, no fat of any kind is called for in greasing the waffle iron. Even non-stick waffle irons (which are not specificied here anyway)require lubing with oil or butter, and most waffle batters contain oil because of the tendency towards sticking. Doing it as suggested will result in ruining your waffle iron, since you can't soak waffle irons lest you screw up the regulator. Books like this waste readers' time, money, even equipment. Directions like "strain the raspberry puree through a colander" are so annoying: Hello! A colander's holes are too large to catch the seeds; you need a strainer. (Why didn't an editor catch this, at the very least?) And what of a Citrus Mango Freeze made without added sweetener that has 1/4 cup each lime and lemon juice to 3/4 cup orange juice and 3 mangos: Yikes, that is some serious tartness! Not a word to even warn readers / eaters so they now how sour it is, or to suggest modifications. I could go on. As an experienced cook and cooking school teacher I find these kind of omissions unsconscionable and irritating. Frequently such errors occur in celebrity cookbooks, especially when "packaged", as this one, to judge from the intro, was --- put together by the publisher, not a self-generated collaboration between friends or colleagues.
Best thing about this book: Andrew Weil's dietary advice, which is sensible and informative, if basic, and a lovely lay-out. But you don't eat the lay-out. Bottom line: get this out of the library for Weil's advice, but the recipes are not worth cooking from. Try Passionate Vegetarian, Laurel's Kitchen or World of the East for superb, healthful and varied recipes which work.
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