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Mediterranean Light [Paperback]

Martha R Shulman
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 28 2000

The cuisines of the Mediterranean are famous for taking humble ingredients and transforming them into savory masterpieces. Finding inspiration in every region of the Mediterranean basin, from the ever-popular dishes of France, Italy, and Spain to the more exotic fare of North Africa and the Middle East, Martha Rose Shulman offers innovative recipes that use less olive oil and other high-fat ingredients while retaining every drop of sun-drenched flavor.

The results: meatless yet hearty pasta sauces; refreshing salads of beans, grains, and vegetables; sizzling grilled fish dishes; aromatic chicken stews; refreshing fresh fruit desserts; virtually fat-free renditions of ratatouille and hummus; and updated, slimmed-down versions of traditional classics like paella, salade Nicoise, and lasagne. These satisfying recipes will become the cornerstone of a long-lasting commitment to healthful eating.

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Product Details

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

These dietetic-but-not-dull recipes, culled from Shulman's friends and fellow cooks, feature Italian, Greek, Middle Eastern and Southern French cuisines. Using relatively little olive oil, few fats and lean chicken and rabbit, Shulman ( Supper Club Chez Martha Rose ) "lightens" traditional fare. She claims that these recipes are designed for slow, steady weight loss, and, without putting forward a program of exercise, promises that "you won't gain the weight back." That's a strong claim for a diet cookbook that doesn't always specify exact portions for each dish. (Any 1200- to 1500-calorie-per-day diet requires strict portion control.) Dieters may be misled. For example, Shulman suggests eating bread with meals, but portion sizes are not in every instance listed clearly above each recipe's nutrient analysis. And ample menus--one includes crostini with porcini mushrooms, pasta e fagioli, swiss chard, a small green salad, and oranges with mint, plus one slice of bread, yielding approximately 830 calories--could lead easily to overindulgence.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Shulman's latest is sort of a low-calorie version of Paula Wolfert's books on Mediterranean cuisine. Author of The Vegetarian Feast and several other cookbooks, she has taken her favorite recipes from all the Mediterranean countries, cut down on oils and fats, changed cooking methods when necessary, and come up with lighter, healthier, authentic-tasting dishes. Nutrition information is included for each, but the audience for this book should not be limited to dieters. For both regional and special collections.-- JS
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too light for today Aug. 8 2002
By A Customer
Many of the recipes in this cookbook are okay, but when I ordered it I failed to notice that it contains a "Forward by Dean Ornish, M.D." That would have been the tip-off.
We all know that too much fat is bad for us, and like many Americans my husband and I eat "light" nowadays--nonfat dairy products; very little beef, lamb or pork; no butter or margerine; skinless chicken and turkey. But much has changed in the dietary world since Shulman's book was first published in 1989. We now know that there are "good" fats as well as bad ones, and that an EXTREMELY low fat diet can be almost as unhealthy as a high-fat one.
If you are vegetarian, this book will probably be useful to you. However, it contains only nine recipes that contain chicken (note that most are not truly "chicken dishes"). Few recipes contain cheese or dairy products of any kind, and most disturbing is her insistance on reducing the olive oil content of most dishes to a miniscule amount. She even includes a recipe for a traditional provencal onion pissaladiere (pizza) which always includes olives: she writes she "left out the olives . . .for the diet version"!
There are many, many excellent mediterranean cookbooks on the market without going to the extreme of Shulman's. Dr. Atkins and Dr. Ornish are at the opposite extremes of the twenty-year- long fat versus carb controversy. Try an alternative mediterranean cookbook and find yourself a satisfying middle ground. I suggest The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook or any of Paula Wolfert's cookbooks. Another, unfortunately out of print, is Mediterranean Cooking the Healthful Way by Marilyn Spieler--my personal favorite. Go ahead: drizzle, don't dump, olive oil on your food and pop a couple of kalamata olives in your mouth. It's okay!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars no use as is Feb. 27 2004
I bought this book thinking I would be getting good vegetarian mediterranean food, and found that I had to modify every recipe I have used from it to suit my taste. The modifications included adding a little bit of olive oil here and there to make the food taste better - I find that for example lentils boiled with some onion and garlic taste pretty plain, even after adding the spices suggested. Another thing I dislike about this book is that the author uses A LOT of garlic in her dishes to make up for lack of flavor, and also that she substitutes yogurt for olive oil in quite a few dishes - what a useless idea for those of us who don't even like yogurt. Finally the organization could be better. In summary there are some interesting ideas in her book but there are much better Mediterranean/healthy/vegetarian cookbooks on the market.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Let's be fair... Feb. 4 2000
By A Customer
I have to disagree with A Reader from California. There is no 3-day chicken soup. There is a soup that asks you to make a stock and refrigerate it overnight to facilitate the removal of the fat, but any experienced cook knows that step is optional. But for a book with lowfat recipes, Shulman probably wanted to be sure that all of the fat was removed. And as for the stracciatella, the base IS a stock that has been simmered with chicken, vegetables, and seasonings before turning it into soup. Her recipe for Shrimp with Cumin has an honest headnote, describing the dish as pungent and allowing 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin to taste. I don't mind when someone has legitimate complaints about a cookbook, but this person's review shows what a large part personal taste plays in evaluating a book. For myself, most of the excellent recipes I have made from this book have been winners (although I admit that because I don't like strong spices, I steered away from things like Whiting Poached with Caraway and Spices), especially the hummus and the ratatouille.
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By A Customer
This was the only cookbook I took with me on an extended trip to Greece, and in some respects it was a good choice. I found tons of recipes here for the types of wonderful ingredients I found in the open-air markets there, and many of the dishes were excellent--the pizza dough alone is worth taking a look at Mediterranean Light for, not to mention the Turkish style cornbread. Many of the dishes, however, have proved disappointing in practice. Her Moroccan-style shrimp with cumin overwhelmed the delicate shrimp with too-heavy spicing, a real let-down after all the fussing with shrimp-shell stock this recipe required. Other dishes required too much fussing for very simple results--notably a chicken soup requiring three days of preparation! Others required such shortcuts or compromises that they were guaranteed disappointments; instead of stewing a chicken with vegetables and seasonings for her avgolemeno, Shulman dumps some eggs and lemon into a pre-cooked broth. The good dishes here, like a lovely low-fat hummus which I make regularly, are very good indeed; but the reader should be aware that many recipes in this collection will not live up to their promise on the page.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Even my teenaged daughter likes it... July 15 2001
Sometimes finding a good cookbook is a question of compatibility and style. I find her directions very easy to follow and so far everything I've tried has been a hit. I'm an inexperienced breadmaker, but the breads I've tried have all come out terrific. The proof of the pudding, however, is that when I made Provencal chicken my teenaged daughter bit into a piece of chicken and went "Mmmmm!" My husband and I looked at each other in disbelief since she has not liked anything I've cooked for what seems like forever. For me, this is the most powerful endorsement possible. This is a great cookbook!
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five stars!
I have lots of cookbooks but few are as reliable as this one by Ms. Shulman. The lower-fat hummus recipe alone is worth the price of the book. Read more
Published on March 3 2004 by whool11
5.0 out of 5 stars After almost 4 years I still love this book
I wrote in April of 2000 that I had lost 50 lbs. I've lost another 20 lbs - 70 in all and maintain that loss now for almost 4 years using this cookbook. Read more
Published on Jan. 29 2003 by Winifred Bellido
5.0 out of 5 stars I Cook Regularly From This
My rule of thumb is, if you get three recipes that you cook regularly out of a cookbook, and you otherwise enjoy it, it has earned its selling price. Read more
Published on Jan. 7 2002 by C. Ebeling
5.0 out of 5 stars Change Your Cooking Style
I've lost 50 lbs since I began using the book last July (It's April now). Ms Schulman's book has taught me to cook with less fat and choose foods that are very tasty but with no... Read more
Published on April 21 2000 by M.W.Bellido
5.0 out of 5 stars I adore every recipe that I have tried from this book!
Don't miss the hummus recipe! It's a lower fat, better tasting version of the usual Middle Eastern fare--imagine that! I think that recipe alone is worth the price of the book!
Published on July 28 1998
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource for Mediterranean cooking!
This cookbook holds the number one place of all of my cookbooks! It is great reference for Mediterranean cooking. It is also great to just sit and read! Read more
Published on Dec 2 1997
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