In WITF's Kitchen with Chef Donna Desfor

Review - Naturally Nourished: healthy, delicious meals made with everyday ingredients

Written by Chef Donna Desfor | Jun 5, 2017 8:00 AM
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Naturally Nourished: healthy, delicious meals made with everyday ingredients, by Sarah Britton Copyright © 2017 by Sarah Britton. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Our Summary:

It should be a given that healthy delicious food shouldn't be expensive, or complicated.  Life in the kitchen should be simple; it isn't.  Enter Sarah Britton and her new book Naturally Nourished intended to prove that we can eat well, even on a budget, and even during the hectic work-week.  In Naturally Nourished, Britton gets down to the nitty-gritty, basic home economics- kind-of-stuff that glamorous cooking competitions and coffee-table cookbooks forget to show you.  If you're up for rethinking the way you use your kitchen, your pantry, and your freezer, then you'll be interested in this new thoughtful and surprising approach to healthy (vegetarian, vegan, raw and grain-free) eating.

What you need to know:
Get it:  Naturally Nourished, Copyright © 2017 by Sarah Britton. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, February 14, 2017, Hardcover $29.99 (Amazon $15.59; Kindle $15.99)

See it:  240 pages with vivid home photography. All but about 2 of the completed recipes are pictured.  Cook from chapters on soups, salads, mains, sides and small plates and savory and sweet snacks. 

Make it:  88 recipes including some ideas for "rollovers" (leftovers).  Recipes are listed at the beginning of each chapter.

Our Review:

Forcing yourself to cook with what you have, or what you can afford, is no small task.  It takes ingenuity and creativity.  It takes some curiosity and a lot of courage.  So begins blogger Sarah Britton's foray into healthy affordable cooking with a lowly head of cabbage in her second book, Naturally Nourished.  The Copenhagen-based blogger (yes, Copenhagen) ultimately turned that head of cabbage into a sautéed brassica of smoky savory rich flavors that she quickly finished off with some chopped apple and parsley and a toasted walnut and garlic sauce.  In all fairness, presuming you have cabbage, apples, and parsley in your kitchen, along with a well-stocked refrigerator and pantry, that dish can be on your dinner table in about 35 to 40 minutes, maybe even a little less. 

It does seem that healthy cookbooks begin with the very large presumption that our pantries are well-stocked or, at least that we have access to a varied selection of produce and staples throughout the year.  But, Naturally Nourished doesn't require it for success.  Britton claims to balance the importance of eating nourishing food with the overwhelming task of shopping expensive, upscale grocers to do it.  She eliminates cooking techniques that make the end of a work day unmanageable and invites you to use leftovers as the building block of your next meal.  Only you can decide whether natural, organic and raw foods are within your personal budget.

Don't think you won't cook, though.  You will, and probably enjoy it.  Even if you're not eating a vegan, gluten-free, raw, or grain-free diet, you'll find the ideas in Naturally Nourished engaging.  Making your own Basic Sprouts is as easy as soaking seeds or beans, rinsing and draining a few times a day for a few days.  The, presto, sprouts! An ingredient Britton uses over and again, and often more than just as a little garnish.  Britton also uses sunflower seeds to mimic cheese in her Tomatoes with Basil and Sunflower Meta Feta and risotto in Surprising Sunflower Seed Risotto, and nuts to add a meatiness to just about anything, including the Toasted Walnut Sauce.  Each new ingredient or technique in handling it becomes part of the whole - a new ingredient you'll use in your next meal, or the building block for another dish.  And, with all that in place, cooking on a busy weeknight sounds manageable.

All in all Naturally Nourished is a very different kind of cookbook.  Delicious and easy for the most part, with enough recipes to keep you challenged and interested, and will require a bit of time to achieve results.  Results, though, that are worth working for.  And, while we can debate that "affordable" is a relative term given the amount of raw nuts, fresh produce and plant-based ingredients called for, if you already eat a vegan, gluten-free or grain-free diet you won't be surprised at the grocery store.  Still, this is a surprising collection of recipes.  Natural ingredients prepared and manipulated in surprising ways.  If you already eat within these parameters you'll be excited by Britton's new approach.  If you don't, be prepared to be engaged and curious enough to want to try these recipes. 

Published in In witfs Kitchen with Chef Donna Desfor

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