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Announcing Chad's Cookbook Reviews

March 8, 2010

I'm Blogging National Nutrition Month
As I first mentioned last week, March is National Nutrition Month®, and I’ll be devoting a post each Monday to good nutrition.  This week, I’ve decided that I’m going to leave my young urban professional ways behind (at least one night a week), and cook at home instead of eating out.  Here’s the thing: I love to cook, I really do.  Food to me is not just something delicious to eat and fuel my body, but it’s also a rich cultural artifact that says a lot about a family, a people, a region, a way of life, etc.  This is why I’ve always love reading cookbooks.  I rarely cook using a recipe, but I have a huge collection of cookbooks, and I can read a good cookbook like a novel.  They’re not just recipe manuals (at least good ones aren’t), but they’re both histories and current snapshots of how people live and what they value.

I love cookbooks almost as much as I love going out to eat.  Every night.  With few exceptions.  You see, I work.  A lot.  And then I go to the gym most nights (or at least I try to now).  And I try to hang out with friends.  And I write in my spare time – this blog and other things.  So that means I have a life which I really love, but that leaves me good and exhausted at the end of a day.  And I’d be happy to cook to unwind, but cooking brings with it something else that I just can’t stomach at the end of a long day – cleaning the kitchen.

One day, I have a fantasy that I’ll find a significant other who hates to cook, but doesn’t mind cleaning (this combination trumps many other qualities on my must have list), but until then, I tend to eat out, or have a very, very simple meal at home (a piece of pan grilled chicken/steak/fish, microwave steamed veggies, and a baked sweet potato).  While I’ve gotten really good at eating out healthily, it does give you a little less control over what goes into your body.  And as my nutritionist reminded me just today, restaurant meals tend to be very high in sodium, which isn’t the best thing in the world.

Thus…in honor of National Nutrition Month, I’m going to commit to cook one night a week at home (baby-steps), using a recipe from a healthy cookbook, and take my leftovers for lunch the next day to add a little variety to that meal, too.  The fun part of this, in addition to the cooking, is the cookbook reading!  I’ve already identified four healthy cookbooks (see below, and click on the covers if you’re interested in learning more about them), and as I use them, I’ll post my reviews of the cookbooks and my success or lack thereof with them.  This should be fun.  It’ll tie in my loves of cooking and writing to give me a double-bang for my buck, and give me some motivation to actually want to do dishes.  Stay tuned!

The Four Cookbooks I’ll Be Starting With…
Amazon.com Widgets

  1. March 9, 2010 at 12:43 PM

    Maybe you’ll inspire me to eat something different once in a while. Ha. I eat the same thing over and over probably too much in an effort to control my intake. Eating out was what did me in. I have so little self control there. But not doing dishes is indeed great. You mentioned the cultural aspects of food and cooking, hadn’t really thought of that, other than some people seem trapped in households that feed them too much. 🙂

  2. March 9, 2010 at 2:43 PM

    Reading cookbooks is truly an odd and powerful way to lose weight. I guess it is like eating vicariously, no?

    I am listening to the book “Born Round” by Frank Bruni the food critic at the New York Times. You might enjoy it also.

    • March 9, 2010 at 5:09 PM

      I hadn’t thought of it that way, really… I’ll have to check out the book you mention! Great title.

  3. March 9, 2010 at 6:22 PM

    I love to cook and bake, but after a nice meal sometimes you just want to relax, then you turn around and there is a pile of dishes to wash! 😦 But I only eat at a restaurant about once a week. Can you imagine with three boys how much they eat at the restaurant, a meal out can get pretty expensive! It’s like their stomach is a bottomless pit sometimes. I like the idea of trying new things from a cookbook. I think I will pull mine out and see what looks good!

  4. Meredith
    March 11, 2010 at 6:04 PM

    I don’t really get into cookbooks as artifacts as much as I appreciate their utility. Especially as a person who just started cooking about 6 months ago. I really love my iPhone app, Epicurious. It makes a shopping list for me, and I can read user reviews before deciding on a dish.

  1. April 1, 2010 at 6:40 PM
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