Friday, October 14, 2011

I Met my Favorite Cookbook Author, Terry Walters!

I Arrived in One Piece!
I don't usually use recipes. When I cook, I tend to cook on the stove and I improvise a lot as I go, but I do turn to cookbooks when preparing ingredients I'm not familiar with and love to page through cookbooks for inspiration. Even though I don't use them often when preparing dinner, I have a strange addiction to cookbooks and out of all of the cookbooks I own (I've lost count), Clean Food: A Seasonal Guide to Eating Close to the Source with More Than 200 Recipes for a Healthy and Sustainable You and Clean Start: Inspiring You to Eat Clean and Live Well with 100 New Clean Food Recipes by Terry Walters are my absolute favorites.

Terry self-published Clean Food before it got picked up by Sterling Epicure and Clean Start followed shortly thereafter. The recipes in both books are organized into the four seasons with some that work any time of the year. Terry shares plenty of judgement-free tips for healthy eating in both books.
Me and Terry! I hung out with her for over an hour!
In addition to referencing her books religiously, I also stalk Terry on her Facebook page and tweet her a lot of my clean eating questions, which she takes the time to answer! I knew I'd get to meet her at some point, but when she tweeted earlier this week that she'd be doing a cooking demo and book signing at KitchenWares on Newbury St, I rearranged my schedule, gathered up my books, and made it a date! I got there a little late, but thanks to the nasty fall rain that's been drenching Boston this week, the store was slow.

Terry was chopping an onion when I arrived and I helped stir the ingredients as she chopped the celery, hakuri turnips, garlic, and parsley that went into the Red Lentil, Turnip & Parsley Soup from page 94 of Clean Start. Add to that some diced tomatoes, great northern beans, mirin, red lentils, and veggie stock, and a delicious dinner was served in no time! I had this strange craving for parsley on the rainy drive in to Boston, so this soup really hit the spot.
Terry serving her Red Lentil Turnip, & Parsley Soup
Terry and I chatted about career paths, kombu, our similar 'dump and stir' cooking techniques and proper soak and rinse oatmeal preparation while she cooked. She signed both of my books and I even got a few details out of her about future projects (which I promised not to spill the beans on). It was such a great way to spend a rainy afternoon. I'm so glad I saw that tweet!

If you like eating healthy food and want to learn more about maximizing the nutritional value of your food and eating seasonal, locally sourced produce, Terry is the expert. Clean Food doesn't have any pictures, but it's a beautiful book nonetheless and is much more than a cookbook! There's a very approachable introduction to clean eating, with easy to follow guidelines for what to stock in your pantry and good descriptions of some of the ingredients you might not be familiar with (like kombu, teff, and mirin). I reference Clean Food all the time and love rereading the introduction for refreshers on proper grain preparation.  Clean Start is full of beautiful pictures and has less obscure ingredients, so if you don't have a health food store near by or are new to cooking seasonal vegetarian food, it might be a better place to start (hence the title!). What I love about both books is how judgement-free they are. Terry just wants you to eat more vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, and whole grains. She doesn't tell you what not to eat, but rather how to prepare the stuff that might come in a CSA box in a healthy, balanced, and delicious way. She has kids, so knows how to make healthy foods appealing to picky eaters, and is conscious of food sensitivities and allergies as well as busy schedules!