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Culinary Intelligence: The Art of Eating Healthy (and Really Well) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 1, 2012
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“‘Intelligence’ is the operative word. Kaminsky tells his story with engaging, thoughtful prose—no gimmicky diets, no impossible-to-follow menu plans. He believes in gratification, not denial.”
—Barry Estabrook, The Atlantic
“Kaminsky’s manifesto makes the not-altogether-depressing argument that some of us might be able to tame our gluttonous appetites (and maybe even slim down) by focusing on eating foods that deliver maximum flavor . . . Culinary Intelligence has nothing to do with shame, and everything to do with the idea of enlisting pleasure as your dietary ally.”
—Jeff Gordinier, The New York Times
“If you don’t want to be part of the obesity and diabetes epidemics in this country, read this book. Food-lover Peter Kaminsky lost weight and transformed his own diet without giving up delicious, nutritious, flavorful foods and he provides an entertaining roadmap for how hedonism and health can co-exist quite happily.”
—Arthur Agatston, M.D., preventive cardiologist and creator of the South Beach Diet
“Peter Kaminsky’s book shows that eating better definitely doesn’t mean compromising
on fantastic ingredients and delicious meals. It’s a great guide to how to make the most of your food.”
“Is Peter Kaminsky a double agent? For 20 years, he eats only the world’s best food, 'happens' to discover the cure for diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, and comes home to tell us to cook our own food, have lunch, and eat leftovers? A savvy, audacious book—long overdue.
—Bill Buford, author of Heat
“For most people, good health and hedonism make strange bedfellows. But for Peter Kaminsky, eating for pleasure is eating for longevity: the two go hand in hand, and happily. His brilliant new book, Culinary Intelligence, isn’t formulaic or abstemious. It’s a culinary doctrine deeply rooted in flavor, making cooking and eating well something to look forward to.”
“Peter Kaminsky’s rules for taking pounds off and keeping them off are based on a really good idea: Flavor per Calorie. That works for him and should make dieting a pleasure.”
—Marion Nestle, New York University, co-author of Why Calories Count: From Science to Politics
“Peter Kaminsky knows food from every angle there is. Culinary Intelligence breaks new ground by weaving together fascinating stories, wonderful insights about the way we relate to food, and practical advice for eating better and truly enjoying it more.”
—Kelly D. Brownell, Professor of Psychology, Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University
“Peter Kaminsky’s Culinary Intelligence is the ultimate food-lover’s handbook, full of mouth-watering prose and smart, practical advice for a new generation of conscientious eaters. With every turn of the page I was inspired and encouraged to make realistic, healthy choices, without the fear of sacrificing the pleasures inherent in eating well. This book will forever change the way you think about food and no doubt help us all tread a little lighter, on our plates, our palates and on the planet.”
—Gail Simmons, author of Talking with My Mouth Full: My Life as a Professional Eater
About the Author
Peter Kaminsky wrote Underground Gourmet for New York magazine for four years, and his Outdoors column appeared in The New York Times for twenty years. He is a longtime contributor to Food & Wine, and the former managing editor of National Lampoon. His books include Pig Perfect: Encounters with Remarkable Swine, The Moon Pulled Up an Acre of Bass, The Elements of Taste (with Gray Kunz), Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way (with Francis Mallmann), Letters to a Young Chef (with Daniel Boulud), Celebrate! (with Sheila Lukins), and John Madden’s Ultimate Tailgating. He is a creator and executive producer of the Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor and the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, on PBS.
Top customer reviews
But as a primer for beginners lost in a sea of nutritional confusion, Culinary Intelligence is a huge success. Weaving a funny personal narrative with his own signature writing style, Kaminisky culls the wisdom that helped him lose 40 pounds and keep it off for six years.
This wisdom includes going off the Evil White Foods: sugar, flour, potatoes, rice, pasta.
Increasing flavor to achieve early satiety.
What to keep in the pantry.
Going off fruit juices and energy drinks.
Cooking food and putting one's eating passion into the cooking process.
The importance of staying away from industrial processed foods in general.
The importance of keeping a small degree of hedonism with bits of chocolate, beer, wine, and other foods to keep one sane.
His system works and makes for a great common sense introduction.
It helps that I've read previous books by this man. He's a good writer. And I liked reading new perspectives on episodes from previous books. Those helped tie things together in my head.
This is NOT a diet book, and it does not contain any "new information" about diets. It's a way to organize your mind - a logical framework - to succeed with a diet. Think of the diet as your coach or trainer and Peter Kaminsky as an older, successful all-star dieter offering his advice and motivational tips. "The coach will tell you to cut back on sugar, and I think the best way to do it is ..."
His fundamental principle is to get the most flavor from every calorie: Buy the best ingredients and prepare them well. He lays this out in the first chapter and the rest of the book applies this principle: elements of flavor, cooking, tips for the three meals of the day, travelling, and eating in restaurants.
He could have conveyed this in about 30 pages, but that's not a book. So, he had to choose: (a) some informative research or (b) some long-winded memories about eating and some recipes. I would have liked the former, but he picked the low-hanging fruit. The tip-off is on the dust-jacket blurb: "an entertaining road map..."
Entertainment is subjective, and I was not amused. Overall, I benefitted from Kaminsky's dietary advice, and he's helped me to change the way I eat. But, damn, what is all this self-absorbed clutter? It's like he has this lifetime of stories, but his friend and family are tired of listening. "Did I ever tell you about the time when ..."
For example, he may have a good point that "Nobody is born liking spicy food. We must learn to like it." That could lead to a summary of research findings on spicy food in different cuisines, but instead he gives us an insignificant page-and-a-half story about eating jalapenos with friends on an Aztec ruin. And so it goes: "Hey, look what I did!"
Kaminsky is a supernumerary in modern culinary arts, but he continuously reminds us that he's been around the major players. There are incessant references to the people he has met: "I accompanied John Scharffenberger to meet the cacao growers of Tzalamtun ... John Besh, Robert Weidmaier, and Randy Lewis prepared our fish ... I met Gary Kunz at a chefs' outing ... Bryan Miller joined Melinda and me..." There is an index with references to 115 names mentioned in the book. (In fairness, he does not claim to be BFFs with all of them, particularly dead guys like Marcel Proust or Soren Kierkegaard).
In sum, Kaminsky's advice is to buy good ingredients, cook them well, and eat small portions. He didn't follow this advice in this book. He took small portions of good ingredients and made them nearly unpalatable, loading the plate with starches and carbohydrates. He was cooking with gas.