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New Good Food, rev: Essential Ingredients for Cooking and Eating Well [Paperback]

Margaret M. Wittenberg

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Book Description

Nov. 1 2007
In NEW GOOD FOOD, industry veteran Margaret M. Wittenberg offers reliable, practical, one-stop advice on organics, whole grains, buying local, sustainability, and more. Focusing on core food products available at large-scale and natural foods markets, she profiles everything from new sweeteners like agave nectar to specialty flours like spelt and barley to gourmet salts. She also clears up confusing food labels, misleading marketing claims, and common misperceptions behind everyday foods, conclusively answering questions like "Grass-fed beef versus grain-fed--what's the difference?" and "Are there good options for gluten-free cooking and baking?" Seasonal produce charts and preparation advice for new (or new-to-you) products provide the essentials for enjoying whole foods every day, every way.

An updated and expanded edition of the definitive guide to buying, storing, and preparing whole foods. Revisions include seven new chapters, with one devoted exclusively to whole grains. Provides an insider's view on agriculture and livestock, including a look at grass-fed beef and antibiotic use in meat production, as well as organic labeling and new nutritional findings.

Reviews"Margaret M. Wittenberg delves into the world of organic foods to help guide you through its twists and turns."-Taste for Life Magazine

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press; First Printing edition (Nov. 1 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580087507
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580087506
  • Product Dimensions: 25.3 x 20.3 x 1.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 590 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #498,819 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

MARGARET M. WITTENBERG is global vice president of Whole Foods Market, where she has served since 1981. She is a former member of the USDA National Organic Standards Board and currently serves on the Marine Stewardship Council's Board of Trustees and the Animal Compassion Foundation. She lives in Fredericksburg, Texas.

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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Reads like a catalog, not a reference April 20 2008
By Jeff Kletsky - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Taking a quick flip through this book has one thinking that the volume is encyclopedic and loaded with good information about ingredients. Unfortunately, the depth of information is very shallow and, in some cases, of unclear value.

As background, I have a good sized bookshelf filled with cookbooks and tend to prefer those that discuss authentic ingredients and techniques over the "quick and easy" type. If I'm looking for information on ethnic ingredients, the source should stand up to content in texts like "Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art" (Tsuji), "The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking" (Tropp), or "Classic Indian Cooking" (Sahni).

"New Good Food" often has little more than a paragraph of general information on each ingredient, with the focus seeming to be on why a food store like Whole Foods would select it for its claimed health benefits, rather than providing significant culinary or cultural depth.

There is some substitution information (e.g., sweeteners) and cooking information (e.g., grains and legumes), but its accessibility and depth ("Cut in half or in wedges and steam, or bake with a splash of oil, a favorite seasoning, and salt or tamari.") is not enough to make this book a "go to" for me.

Some of the discussions about what the food terms, such as "organic" and "free range" mean, might be of value to some, but that information is widely available elsewhere.

In some cases, the information is questionable. For example, the section on cooking by color identifies potatoes in the "yellow or orange" group or the "red" group according to their skin color, though the skin is generally not eaten and does not contain the carotenoids at the levels associated with eating "orange" vegetables. It further lists eggplant as a valuable "blue or purple" vegetable, though eggplant has very little value other than a little dietary starch.

"New Good Food" also falls into the trap of "natural is good" on occasion as well. After dismissing all "artificial, nonnutritive sweeteners" (which I generally would agree with), the virtues of Stevia are extolled, because it is a "natural, plant-based substance," even though the "human body can't completely metabolize [Stevia-based sweeteners]." Conium maculatum is a common herb, which produces a "natural, plant-based substance" known as "deadly hemlock." I'm not suggesting that Stevia is poisonous. However, I am aware that it is recommended against for people with liver conditions, probably because of the load its non-nutritive, non-metabolizable chemicals, naturally occurring or not, put on that organ.

With two vegetarians in our family, along with allergy to soy and soy products, I was hoping for a reference on some of the less common ingredients available at market today to complement my current "go to" general reference cookbooks. "New Good Food" isn't about to find a place next to, for example, Cooks Illustrated "The [New] Best Recipe" or many of the excellent CIA series, such as "Techniques of Healthy Cooking, Professional Edition"
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another useful resource to be used with others May 28 2009
By M. J. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
I have given up on ever finding a single book which will identify everything I find in the market, tell me how to select, store and use the product, and whether or not its good for me. So I rely on a short shelf of books e.g.Melissa's Great Book of Produce: Everything You Need to Know about Fresh Fruits and Vegetables or Cooking With Asian Leaves by Devagi Sanmugam & Christopher Tan (apparently out of print),Buried Treasures: Tasty Tubers of the World (Brooklyn Botanic Garden All-Region Guide) etc. etc. New Good Food is a good addition to the collection.

It's strong points: the section on beans, peas, and lentils provide specific instructions for a wide variety of beans etc. Rather than guessing what class of beans I have, I more often can find the actual bean variety. It doesn't always help ... I still had to struggle with my mideastern "ful" beans that weren't foul beans (North African flat type) that were foul beans (North Indian brown beans). However, if I restrict my shopping to Whole Foods (where the author works.

There is also a wonderful segment on pasta - Jerusalem artichoke pasta, quinoa pasta, sprouted grain pasta, kuzukiri (Japanese kudzu based).

Like most similar books, one needs to take nutritional information with a dose of skepticism - its a matter of which study producing incompatible results fit the bent of the author. On the whole, however, the author appears to try to be even-handed with regards to most of the locavore / slow foods / organic eating contraversies.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious guide to whole foods Jan. 30 2008
By H. Grove (errantdreams) - Published on Amazon.com
Whether you're looking for information on produce or whole grains, seafood or meats, dairy or sea vegetables, it's in here. I've already done quite a bit of reading in whole foods books, and yet I learned plenty of new and fascinating things in this volume. Much of it is incredibly practical. For example, if you want to know the difference between Tamari, Shoyu, and Soy Sauce---the practical differences in how they're produced and what they contain---that's all in here. You'll understand how to figure out which ones are fermented vs. which ones are produced chemically; which ones are better for high-heat cooking vs. which ones are better as a condiment and why; and so on. If you want to know the complex process by which Tamari was originally produced (as a by-product of miso production), you can read about that, too.

Or maybe you'd like to delve into the wide variety of sea vegetables available in the whole foods market, but you don't know how to even begin using them. Ms. Wittenberg's book identifies each one and provides detailed instructions for using them in various types of cooking.

New Good Food includes plenty of information on various sweeteners---not just how they're made, but what sorts of sugars they're comprised of and how quickly those sugars break down in the body (essential information for diabetics). The section on produce includes information on the peak seasons for a very wide variety of items so you'll know when to go looking for them at their best. Information on whole grains from around the world includes not just historical and nutritional information, but of course basic cooking methods as well.

New Good Food is an utterly fantastic reference volume to keep on your shelves as you experiment with more whole foods.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a map for the grocery store maze May 4 2008
By enlightened in Illinois - Published on Amazon.com
Most grocery stores today offer a lot more choices than they used to. There are so many types of cheeses, there are different types of apples, there are choices from the Asian food section, there are a lot of different pastas. And then what do you do with these foods? How do you store them? I found this book to be an excellent guide as to what unusual looking fruits or vegetables were and how they could be used; how to store cheeses; what vegetables should not be refrigerated. In other words if I want to try a food that I am not familiar with I use this book to help me incorporate it into my menu. I find the information on storage very valuable since I don't seem to have time to shop frequently and like to buy in at least a weekly quantity.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Guide to Real Foods March 19 2008
By Lauren McCutcheon - Published on Amazon.com
Wow! So much of what we eat these days in America is barely recognizable as food. This book is true to what it sayds, it's about GOOD FOOD. Great reference tables (for example, cooking grains). Margaret Wittenberg is the Global VP for Quality Standards for Whole Foods Market, and she helped create the National Organic Standards. This lady knows her stuff! I've used this book as a reference tool, a cookbook and even as lite informational reading. If you're a "foodie," this book should definitely be on your kitchen bookshelf.

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