55 of 58 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
I've been macrobiotic for over 25 years, and this book belongs to a genus you might call faux macrobiotic.
Macrobiotics involves eating according to the energy, or chi, in foods--because it's the energy that sustains us, rather than the chemical constituents recognized by science. This typically means avoiding processed and refined foods (because they have no chi) and highly stimulating spices, which activate the organs in undesirable ways. However, most people are accustomed to eating exactly those foods as part of the standard American diet (SAD).
Although this book has "macrobiotic" in the subtitle and begins with a long section explaining macrobiotic principles, many of the recipes call for such ingredients as canned beans, frozen peas, fresh and canned fish (tuna), garlic, cumin, chili, cayenne, and pepper. With the possible occasional exception of fresh fish, you would never find these ingredients in a conventional macrobiotic diet.
The book is apparently geared toward younger people, college students, who are on the go and want a somewhat more healthful diet than the usual fast food. I suppose in that respect it's better than Peg Bracken's "I Hate to Cook Book," which was my introduction to the kitchen several decades ago and mostly involved opening cans. But many people who come to macrobiotics do so for health reasons, and if that's you, this book may not be as helpful as you expect. If you're in good health and don't overdo it with the ingredients I mentioned, you probably won't do yourself much harm, but don't delude yourself that you're following a macrobiotic diet.
The rationale for these books is that people are in a hurry, so using canned or frozen sometimes is okay, and that people want variety, so spices are okay. Occasionally, it *is* okay. But this book has many such recipes--they seem to be the rule rather than the exception. Authors of these books sometimes say that macrobiotics is evolving or that you don't want to be rigid, etc. Fine, but there's just no getting around the fact that if you have a serious health problem and hope to get rid of it (or want to minimize your chances of causing one in the future), a clean vegan diet is imperative. Also, part of macrobiotics involves uncorrupting our taste buds, so we can appreciate the taste of the food itself, without a lot of seasoning.
I bought this book sight unseen, thinking it had some new twists on the old macro ideas, and I find that it's basically a popularization. The title and long introductory section imply that it's a macrobiotic cookbook, and to some extent it is. But people often come to macrobiotics to get rid of health problems, and eating canned and frozen foods and fish and spices on a regular basis is not going to help you do it.