Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Falling hard for another book about foooooood! From Skinny Bitch to Michael Pollan to Clean Food

Believe it or not, it all started with Skinny Bitch.  I marched into my local Borders and picked up my copy after seeing Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin on a couple of my favorite talk shows.  I got home and read the whole thing that afternoon.  Now granted, this isn't a difficult task to accomplish, for Rory and Kim keep things pretty educational and entertaining (my favorite combination, other than chocolate and raspberry that is!).  But you must understand... I'm not a big reader.  Well, I wasn't at the time.  I mean I had been back in the day, but I don't even know what the last book I finished before Skinny Bitch was.  Sure, I had my brief love spell with audiobooks (Including Andrew Weil's Eating Well for Optimum Health) while I was communing from Baltimore to Laurel while I was living in MD, but that doesn't count.  So back to Skinny Bitch.  After finishing it in a day (and getting pretty grossed out), I decided that I'd try the whole no meat thing.  I also cut down on dairy and eggs, but didn't want to go too far into the unknown.  It's been about a year and a half since I ate something with legs.  I still eat fish sometimes, like when I eat out.  And I've probably ingested some chicken broth or something along those lines... but I would have never thought I would have gone this long.  

When I made the decision to go without meat, I didn't look at it as a sacrifice; I wasn't giving anything up.  I just didn't want to eat anything that came from a factory farm and I didn't feel like taking the time and devoting all the energy that goes into finding meat that didn't come from a factory farm... it just wasn't worth it when I could fill my diet with more nutrients by switching to a mostly plant-based diet.  (I did tell myself then that if I was at my grandparent's house for dinner and they happened to be serving something that they raised that I might indulge... especially if it was lamb.  I'll let you know when/if that happens!)  

So that's where/when it all started.  But then I started caring more and more about my food.  And I started reading more and more.  Next was The Omnivore's Dilemma.  Then In Defense of Food.  Then a subscription to Vegetarian Times.  And now... Clean Food.  And that doesn't even count the countless hours I've spent with my nose in cookbooks, on websites, and paging through more books about food at Porter Square Books (love that place!).  

But I think Clean Food might end up being my favorite of them all.  First of all, I love the feel of it.  It's a nice, heavy hardcover.  And it's green.  Terry Walters has done a magnificient job with the Table of Contents.  There's an introduction that really illustrates her point of view and she makes it pretty clear that there's no judgement.  Do what you can to eat clean.  Small steps, you know?  I love that!  And then a great breakdown of what you need to eat clean, followed by a ton of simple recipes organized by season.  Genius, right?  

Disclaimer:  I rarely follow recipes (except when baking, which I don't do very often!), so I usually just read cookbooks for inspiration when I'm cooking something I've never cooked before... like roasted butternut squash soup, for example.  I read like 10 recipes for butternut squash soup.  And then I decide which parts of which recipes I like and which things to change up and I go from there.  I always season as I go, so I never really know exactly how I cooked something (though I am going to try to do a better job with this going forward).
Well, I'm sure I'll have much more to say about Clean Food down the road, but that's all for now... I'm technically only on page 11 and I can't wait to read more!