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12 Best Foods Cookbook: Over 200 Recipes Featuring The 12 Healthiest Foods Paperback – January 27, 2005

4.5 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

DANA JACOBI is the author of three previous cookbooks, including Amazing Soy (winner of the Gourmand World Cookbook Award). She has written for Cooking Light, Eating Well, and Natural Health, and her syndicated column "Something Different" appears in over 750 newspapers. She lives in New York City.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books; 1 edition (April 6, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579549659
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579549657
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #971,279 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on April 21, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
'12 Best Foods Cookbook' by culinary journalist, Dana Jacobi presents nutritional information in what I consider a most delightful way, very similar to the excellent book, `SuperFoods' by Steven Pratt, M.D. and Kathy Matthews. As nutritional doctrine is getting more and more complicated, it is a relief to see these two books manage to present a very large body of nutritional wisdom in an easily digestible form.

To Jacobi's twelve (12), Pratt and Matthews present fourteen (14), but the agreement between the two lists is remarkably good. A list of the foods covered in both books follows:

In both:


Beans (Jacobi singles out black beans)



Salmon (Pratt specifies wild salmon. Jacobi has wild and farm-raised with a caution against the skin)

Soy (in all its gloriously different forms)




In Pratt and Matthews, but not in Jacobi:






In Jacobi, but not in Pratt and Matthews:

Sweet potatoes



I suspect you could pair off the sweet potatoes with the pumpkin as sources of the `orange' nutrients. As fresh sweet potatoes are available the year around, I'll go for them instead of pumpkin, not to mention the fact that you can do with sweet potatoes virtually everything you can do with pumpkin, from soup to pies and back again. Tea and chocolate are also something of a pairing, as both are sources of caffeine and other nifty natural chemicals. If I had to pick, I would go with chocolate.
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Format: Paperback
Dana Jacobi is not above boasting. She takes pride in her reputation for creating dishes that are both lavish and healthy. Fortunately for us, she doesn't mind sharing either. For her 12 Best Foods Cookbook (Rodale, 2005), Jacobi looked for ingredients that not only had the most "nutritional bang for their caloric buck" and were highly versatile, but would also be pleasurable to our palates. The result is over 200 recipes that each include at least one of the following:




chocolate (high in anti-oxidants, luck us!)






sweat potato



But this book includes more than just recipes. There is a thorough introduction to each of the 12 ingredients - what makes it special, as well as how to buy, store, and use it. There are educational food facts scattered throughout the book, as well as side bars with recipe variations or cooking tips. And there are 44 mouthwatering photos that are sure to make you want to run to the kitchen. For times when you are in a hurry, there's an icon of a clock that readily identifies recipes that take 30 minutes or less to prepare. There are even specific recommendations about which brand or variety of food is best for what occasion.

12 Best Foods Cookbook contains a pleasing breadth of recipes, from the familiar to the exotic, and from appetizers and side dishes to drinks and dessert. The ingredients are easy to find and the instructions simple to follow. However, the recipes get a bit homogenous in two sections of the book: 9 of the 12 recipes in the "Fish" section use salmon, and 11 of the 13 "Breakfast" recipes use oatmeal.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this book in the library, not long after I purchased SuperFoods. I checked it out 3 different times, and finally decided that both the information and the recipes were worth adding to my collection. I resisted at first, only because I am trying to scale down my cookbook collection. This was a great purchase, well worth the space on my (limited) shelves.

Recipes have thus far proven to be simple and tasty. Occasionally a "different" ingredient is called for, which is hard to find in my medium sized town. In fact, I even looked in a large city for tamarind paste, and was unable to locate it. No matter; in other cookbooks, I am instructed to substitute lemon juice for tamarind paste, and that's what I've done here. None of the main ingredients are hard to find, and in my opinion, a single tablespoon of one odd ingredient is not going to make or break a recipe. Certainly it could alter the final flavor, but I will not pass over a recipe just because I do not have a small amount of one minor ingredient.

There are some recipes which are found in various places (such as Huevos Rancheros), but with the author's own twist on them, still making them worth a try. Others, such as the Sweet Potato Salad, are new to me.

The 12 foods are primarily things that my family eats fairly regularly, and I am enjoying new ideas for preparing and/or incorporating them.

If your family refuses to eat fruits or veggies, this may not be the book for you. I am fortunate that my son (4)... as well as my husband... will eat most anything... at the very least, they will try it once. However, if you (and/or your family) are willing to experiment with fairly common ingredients, you may find some new favorites, as well as an overall healthier diet!
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