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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Good Food from the Good Book Paperback – March 4, 2008
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About the Author
Leslie Bilderback, CMB, has been a certified master chef and baker for nearly 20 years. She is the author of The Complete Idiot's Guide(r) to Success as a Chef, The Complete Idiot's Guide(r) to Comfort Food, and The Complete Idiot's Guide(r) to Spices and Herbs.
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She includes recipes both ancient and modern, most of which are aimed at introducing you to a wide array of vegetables, whole grains, and non-refined sugars. Breads and crackers, burgers, fish, stuffed vegetables, soups... it's all in here. You'll even find meatloaf and a homemade barbecue sauce.
The recipes that we tried came out wonderfully. A broccoli dish with cheese sauce and crunchy cracker topping was delicious. A recipe for ratatouille was my favorite of the book. A Texas bean bake produced something that my husband found perfect for cold lunches at work.
I have only two reservations about this book. One is that the recipes don't seem quite as dedicated to the principles the author espouses as the text does. For all that she warns us off of refined flours and sweeteners, for example, you'll find plenty of them in dishes such as cranberry sorbet, pound cake, carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, angel food cake, and so on.
My other reservation is the side notes. Each recipe comes with a little box in which are noted prep time and cooking time. Often other notes appear above or below a recipe. I'm guessing that someone accidentally mixed these up while laying out the book, because many of them seem utterly irrelevant to the recipe they're paired with. An opening note on the Texas bean bake says it would make a lovely vegetarian dish if paired with rice, but there's a pound of ground beef in it. Similarly, the box next to the baked broccoli dish states a cooking time of 10 minutes, while the recipe itself says "bake for 20 minutes." And these are just a couple of examples out of many.
As another reviewer noted, I have also come across some errors and inconsistencies in cook times and such, 'though I haven't found any that directly affect the outcome of a recipe.
With all that said, however, I did derive some benefit from this book. The majority of the book has a decidedly whole-foods bent. Some condiments, such as Dijon mustard and worcestershire are used, along with bread crumbs and crackers, but the vast majority of the recipes (anything not a dessert, pretty much) use whole foods for all of the primary ingredients. For instance, brown rice and whole wheat flour are used rather than white rice and all-purpose flour. There is even a recipe for tuna casserole that does not use cream-of-anything soup! All this means that I found it to be a useful from-scratch, almost-all-whole-foods cookbook that doesn't include any of the "unclean" ingredients my family doesn't eat.