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The Real Food Cookbook: Traditional Dishes for Modern Cooks Hardcover – June 10, 2014
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“[Planck's] capacity for humor and self-deprecation makes for good company, and her intelligence and skepticism inspire confidence.” ―Holly Brubach, The New York Times, on Real Food
“Persuasive and invigorating. A valuable and eye-opening book.” ―Michael Pollan, on Real Food
“Compellingly smart.” ―Mark Bittman, on Real Food
“The antidote to the faddists, alarmists, and kooks who all too often dominate American food discourse.” ―David Kamp, on Real Food
“An important book.” ―Hannah Wallace, Los Angeles Times Book Review, on Real Food
“A cross between Alice Waters and Martha Stewart.” ―Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post, on Real Food
Top Customer Reviews
And now there's this cookbook. I've never really raved about a cookbook, because most of them make me feel like I'm back in law school getting called on in Contracts on the day that I'm unprepared. But this cookbook. This cookbook is gentle with your insecurities, all the while being bountifully beautiful, with tales of cultured butter, fried cheese, vegetables galore (beets, especially my beloved beets), kefirs, bone broths, grass-fed beef, and pastured chicken. You will be in traditional food heaven, but strangely without all the judgment or pretense one might typically find in such untouchably ethereal circles. (Spoiler: she even cops to not being able to entirely give up industrially refined white sugar!).
Now that right there speaks to me, since I'm on about two years of fast food, Lean Cuisine, and aspartame sobriety now, and my cooking skills and confidence have been painstakingly slow to catch up. This cookbook works for me, but it would also please the most discriminating foodie out there.
This is starting to sound like some sort of drunken, last-call, gushing confessional-monologue to your best girlfriend about the perfect, elusive arch in her eyebrows, when you've suffered from a lifetime of tweezer-impairment, but that's pretty much the feeling here. So just order the cookbook.
“The prices of organic milk and grass-fed meat --- why do you have to spend so much?” she asks.
And I say, “So we can live as long as you --- we’re just trying to eat as you did for the first 50 years of your life.”
Or as Nina Planck does now.
Nina Planck, a farmer’s daughter, was raised on “real food, plain old American-style: meat, vegetables, whole grains, real milk and cheese.” Her mother used to say, “No matter how poor we are, we’ll always have real butter, olive oil and maple syrup.”
Then Nina read about the dangers of that way of eating, and she adopted the non-fat, vegetarian diet and six-mile runs that are said to lead to eternal life. It didn’t work out: “I was 20 pounds heavier than I am now and struggled constantly with my weight. I got colds and flu in colds and flu season. I was moody and irritable once a month. My nails were brittle and my skin was dry. My digestion was poor.”
Back up the truck! She reaffirmed the diet of her childhood, became a “conscientious omnivore,” started farmer’s markets in London and New York, married the king of cheesemongers, produced three children --- one triumph after another. I know Nina slightly. When I see her, I restrain myself from confessing that I want to be president of her fan club.
I am Nina’s fan because she is so resolutely human. “I’m not a foodie,” she says, and I believe her. She says she made many mistakes on the way to this way of cooking, and I believe that too. Her modest ambition: “to spare you a few wrong turns.”
One more cookbook, you say. And sigh. What’s it like? It’s like: sensible.Read more ›
When I started my real food journey, I started reading Real Food: What to Eat and Why by Nina Planck. One of the things I liked so much about it was that she cited her research sources. So I was a little disappointed to see that her first recipe, for Kombucha, was filled with common misconceptions and no research. I feel it is necessary to correct some of these statements so that others can make the best choice for you and your family.
1) "Kombucha is nonalcoholic" - it actually has at least .5% and as much as 3% or more depending on the length of fermentation. If you do the second ferment for flavor it will be on the higher side. I personally wouldn't feel comfortable feeding it to my kids for this reason.
2) The SCOBY "devours the caffeine in the tea and the sugar creating the good things in the Kombucha: B vitamins, enzymes, and antioxidant glucaronic acid." - the caffeine is only consumed by the SCOBY when it has nothing else to feed on, such as sugar. You'd have to ferment it for quite a while to reduce the caffeine at all. The amount of B vitamins is so small it's immeasurable. And there is NO glucaronic acid in it whatsoever.
(Source: [...] )
Aside from that, I was a little disappointed that the recipes weren't more "traditional". They are definitely a little more fancy than what I cook on a regular basis. Some of the ingredients are costly, some I don't even know where to find. She doesn't seem consistent in the types of ingredients she recommends, she seems to often recommend canned tomatoes over fresh, which seems a little odd (obviously this is something you could personally change). She gives instructions on how to make certain ingredients on your own but not others.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Beautiful illustration of what is called the modern Family cooking mixing traditions and comfortPublished 3 months ago by kiki
Great recipes, only critique from the boss, "Needs pictures of all the dishes".Published 11 months ago by Tony Y.
Really disappointed with this purchase. All the recipes in the book are classics and there is nothing new offered in here.Published 11 months ago by katie
I really wanted to like this cookbook, I got it as a gift. Cookbooks are my favorite gift and I have many of them. The pictures are great, the recipes are not my favorite. Read morePublished 13 months ago by L. Shaw
We cook mostly WAPF style food. Real Food gave me good recipes with ingredients I was familiar with while still providing me recipes and techniques to learn. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Carrie Etzel
I hesitated to write this review because I feel bad about giving it 3 stars. Truthfully though, it should perhaps even get 2.5. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Kristen Suzanne