Cooking The Whole Foods Way Paperback – Mar 1 1997
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Christina Pirello turned to a whole-foods diet after being diagnosed with terminal leukemia at age 26. To the shock of her doctors, and without any medical treatment, she went into complete remission. She was surprised herself, as she'd been a vegetarian for more than 10 years and wasn't convinced that cutting prepackaged foods, sugar, and dairy from her diet would make that much of a difference to her health.
Pirello says, "Macrobiotics is an understanding that that food is energy, that everything we eat becomes part of us and helps create who we become." With this philosophy in mind, she advises how to plan menus, shop for quality ingredients, and combine foods for optimum energy. She then jumps right into her collection of more than 500 recipes, among them Fresh Corn Chowder, Béchamel Sauce, and Chocolate Hazelnut Torte. They should appeal to entire families; beans, tofu, and sea vegetables do figure prominently in many dishes, but rarely have these much-maligned ingredients sounded so tantalizing. Pirello's sassiness, adventuring spirit, and lust for life are readily apparent in these recipes, and her book should certainly help make the transition to a whole-foods lifestyle a smooth one. --Erica Jorgensen
From Library Journal
Fifteen years ago, Pirello was diagnosed with terminal leukemia and given fewer than six months to live; with no other real options, she reluctantly listened to a friend who introduced her to macrobiotic cooking. She eventually adopted that diet and within months was in total remission?so it's understandable that she has become a champion of macrobiotics. She and her husband run a cooking school in Philadelphia, and this cookbook is a companion to her new PBS series. Pirello's recipes demonstrate that there's more to a macrobiotic diet than brown rice, and her exuberance and sense of fun show that macrobiotics doesn't have to be dreary. It's too bad that the headnotes often refer to various healing and other properties of certain foods without explaining the basis of such beliefs. Nevertheless, subject and other large cookbook collections will want Pirello's natural foods guide.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
However, even though the author opens her book with a chapter entitled, "What is macrobiotics?" this book is not pure macrobiotics. Many recipes call for ingredients which should probably be avoided by newcomers to the practice. On the flip side, this book does seem like a good transitionary book for those desiring to try a more macrobiotic diet while still eating many foods which are familiar.
To the author's credit, the word "macrobiotic" doesn't appear on either the front or back cover, so obviously she isn't making a claim to be die-hard macrobiotic. While some recipes are 100% macrobiotic, some others which are not may be altered to make them so, if desired.
The beginning of the book describes many of the unusual and unfamiliar ingredients needed, items like kuzu, agar-agar, arame, hiziki, mochi, and shoyu, among others. Menu and shopping suggestions are given as well.
I'm not vegetarian but I imagine this book being a valuable addition to a vegetarian's cookbook library. Just skip the chapter on fish.
A few caveats: 1. This is not a pure vegetarian cookbook. She has a whole section on fish. The author does not eat fish herself, but wanted to more fully represent the macrobiotic philosophy. 2. This doesn't give a good look at the full spectrum of macrobiotics. I'm not an expert by any stretch, but from what I've read of some of the other macrobiotics founders, this seemed very incomplete. She seems to concentrate primarily on the yin-yang principle (in her next book she talks about the elements), but doesn't give a comprehensive overview of how those can affect certain conditions. Also, as another reviewer pointed out, she includes a lot of ingredients most macrobiotics shun (chocolate, garlic, etc.) She seems to bend the rules a lot when it comes to desserts. 3. Having said that, when the author thinks a rule is important, she runs with it. Don't even think of eating raw vegetables or fruits, any white flour, or certain vegetables, like tomatoes.
All in all, I thought this cookbook was a valuable addition to my collection, but I didn't think it was a very good lifestyle guideline.
So, why did I give it three stars? Two reasons:
1. Some of the recipes made me wonder if they had tried them before they put them in the book. I figured that every cookbook is bound to have a couple of bad recipes, but I would say less than half of the recipes had a good taste and maybe a handful were recipes I would cook again.
2. The consistency was off on a lot of the recipes that were supposed to be like dough. Actually, all of the dough-like recipes I have tried have been too runny. That goes for cookies, bread, and pancakes.
I would not recommend the sourdough or South of the Border Salad. Those were the two you could not pay me to eat again. Good items included the Oriental Noodle Salad with Cashews, Penne With Black Beans & Mango, Baked Beans With Miso & Apple Butter. I am very new to this macrobiotic thing and I could be wrong, but aren't tropical fruits a no-no (penne referred to above)? And again with those Baked Beans, add more beans or you will have soup - and a very runny soup at that.
I would recommend this book if you are patient, adventurous & just starting in on macrobiotics. If you are looking to improve your cookbook collection, however, I would think twice.
Most recent customer reviews
This is a very, very good book if you're trying to add vegetables, reduce meat/dairy, or just eat healthier. Read morePublished on June 6 2004
The title of the book is misleading, because the book is comprised 90% of recipes, NOT techniques, wit& wisdom etc. It is not a guide, it is a recipe book. Read morePublished on Feb. 5 2004 by O. Alkan
Whole Foods does not = Macrobiotics as this author has decided. Whole Foods includes meat, very heartily, as it is a "whole food". Read morePublished on Sept. 8 2003
Somewhere in this long title should appear the word "macrobiotic" so that people who are not interested could avoid buying the book! Read morePublished on May 7 2003
I came to this book before I knew anything about macrobiotics, simply because I was looking for a broader spectrum of ways to cook vegetables. Read morePublished on March 9 2003 by Carol C. Buchalter
I bought this book a few years ago, just because I was trying to adapt a more healthy lifestyle, and for the immense amount of recipes in the book (a lot!). Read morePublished on Nov. 7 2002 by Lauren Zalewski
I have been using this book for over a year. The recipes have a wide range of dishes. From simple to more involved. Read morePublished on March 27 2002 by Lorraine Y. Ea
I have been using this book for several months after coming off a strict macrobiotic diet. This is now my main cookbook. Read morePublished on July 4 2001
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