In an era where cooking and nutrition advice is often just a Google search away, the future of the good old fashioned print cookbook might seem uncertain. Gone are the times of our parent’s era, when cooking instructions came in the form of New Zealand’s culinary staple Edmonds Cookery book, or – for the very fancy and adventurous – Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. There was no rushing to the smart phone with buttery hands while looking for weight conversion charts, or the spur-of-the moment decision to re-create a Michelin chef’s five-course dinner, as found on their blog. So the question is: why buy a print cookbook these days, when cyberspace abounds with free access to culinary inspiration, recipes and advice?
Picking up a cookbook like Food to Make You Glow, by aptly named nutritionist Lola Berry, provides some clues as to why a print cookbook is still preferred by many accomplished and ‘wanna-be’ chefs. There are just some things that the internet can not quite capture, like flicking through the pages of a beautifully designed cookbook, with large photographs of mouth-watering meals jumping out at every page. Berry is a well-known Australian nutritionist, who has appeared regularly on lifestyle TV shows, and who has published seven previous cookbooks based on health and nutrition.
Food to Make You Glow features key whole-foods ingredients to support six specific health goals: food for happiness, food for energy, food for beauty, food for immunity, food for calming, and food for weight loss and detox. We learn that berries, cacao and fermented foods boost our happiness levels; while bananas, eggs and avocado can do wonders for our energy reserves. Skin, nails and hair are nourished by oysters, raspberries and macadamia oil; and our immune system is boosted by almonds, garlic and broccoli amongst others. If you’re feeling anxious and need calming, mackerel, beetroot and poppy seeds are your best friends; while chillies, fish and pistachios are all used for detox and weight loss. For each chapter there is also additional advice on physical and emotional components of the goals, alongside the ideal yoga pose you would want to practice to support your goal.
Following the current cook-book fashion of embellishing the recipe photos with photos of the author in action – looking healthy and well-groomed (and without any signs of chaos and mess, like cake dough hanging off clothing or hair, such as you would find if you photographed anyone in my family cooking) – is encouraging and eye catching; but what really sets this book apart are the sections at the beginning of each chapter that actually tell you why you would want to use the listed ingredients, and how they work together for optimal nutrition. There is much to be said for the simple knowledge of knowing food properties and how they can potentially have a positive effect on wellbeing.
The recipes themselves are diverse, and with plentiful choice as to how to combine and use the particular foods in each category. Ranging from breakfast, to lunch, dinner and snack recipes, recipes are presented in a simple and appealing way, without overly fussy instructions or too many cryptic ingredients. My own trial-run with various of the recipes resulted in tasty, wholesome food, and with the satisfying feeling that I was doing something healthy for myself and my family. So whether you are part of the “turmeric-latte” health food crowd, or you simply want a little bit more knowledge about how to give your body better nourishment, Food to Make You Glow is a definite must-have addition to your kitchen bookshelf.