Anna Getty's Easy Green Organic: Cook Well, Eat Well, Live Well Paperback – Mar 10 2010
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About the Author
Anna Getty is a writer, TV personality, and organic living expert. She lives in Los Angeles.
Dan Goldberg is a commercial photographer specializing in food and still life. He lives in Chicago.
Director and photographer Ron Hamad has exhibited internationally and resides in Los Angeles.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The photography is great. I shouldn't care, but frankly an enticing picture of the finished product is a good motivator for me to try something new. Not every recipe is illustrated but it seemed like the majority had pictures.
The only drawback I can offer you is that the recipes, while actually pretty easy, feel a little on the gourmet side for "weekday dinner" use. This where it becomes apparent that this book was written by an heiress in the Getty family. To some degree that was really a problem in my head I had to get past. At first couldn't see serving "Arugula and strawberry salad with pumpkin seeds" to my pre-school aged kids, but then I realized I've always got strawberries around for them to eat, I can buy pumpkin seeds in bulk, and once I replaced the arugula with something a little less bitter I had a really easy salad my kids devour. Once you get past titles that sound like they would be complicated you get down to a really good "idea" cookbook that can stretch your cooking out a little.
It's hard not to give this cookbook five stars, Getty has managed to bridge a lot of tricky gaps (organic primer + gourmet + practical daily cooking + creative recipes) in a book that's just easy to cook with. Well worth buying.
<--As a Cookbook-->
For those looking for a good cookbook, Easy/Green/Organic is a good and safe bet. The instructions are clear and most (not all) of the recipes have a picture of the finished product so you get an idea of what you're striving for. I would consider the recipes in this book very California cuisine oriented. Lots of fresh veggies, fruits, olive oil with a meat-included dish every five to ten recipes. This is not what I would consider a "Beginner" level book. If you need to know how to slice, chop, mince or have your hand held every step of the way, this book is not quite at that level. If you can understand and accomplish: "Melt the butter in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the shallots, scallions and peas and saute for 2 to 3 minutes, being careful not to burn the shallots. Add the pea tendrils and cook until soft, about 4 minutes" then you'll be fine.
Most of the recipes are vegetarian friendly but not all. There are quite a few calling for meat (chicken/shrimp/beef/scallops) as well as a meat based stock. That being said, for those who are not interested in vegetarian meals, it should be noted that the majority of the recipes are meat-free (not that this is a bad thing, just an FYI).
My biggest issue with this book is the very light and yet simultaneously heavy-handed approach that the book uses to impart information on "Going Green." Of the nearly 240 pages which make up this book, only about 35 of those pages are devoted specifically to tips on going green. A few more pages can be compiled and added to that 35 count by way of the little "Did you know?" and "Green tip" factual tidbits sprinkled throughout the book.
Now if the book had simply offered suggestions and tips for going green that would be one thing, but the author goes the extra step of attempting to convince you with reasons on why you should go Green/Organic/Sustainable. Unfortunately many of the reasons aren't really substantiated with facts, but rather a "Non-organic foods have pesticides. Pesticides are bad," sort of argument. So as soon as someone asks you to explain why pesticides are bad when we've been using them for decades, well you're at a loss because that information wasn't really provided. As an example, the entire argument against using Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO's) is that "...others (including myself) argue that there are unknown health effects as well as potential environmental hazards in the proliferation of GMO crops." The tips on getting new gadgets for the kitchen amounts to: Make sure you really need it, and if you do, look for an Energy Star label.
If you like Californian cuisine, purchase this book. The recipes are nice, fresh and formatted in a easy to digest fashion. While none of the recipes are extremely awe-inspiring, it does contain a good cross-section of items to get you started in figuring out what part of the cuisine you want to hone in on. Again, this book is vegetarian "friendly," not "exclusive". Other Californian cuisine books I would recommend are: Live, Love, Eat!: The Best of Wolfgang Puck and The French Laundry Cookbook. If you want to go the complete opposite direction, I suggest The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl.
If you were interested in buying this book as a resource on going green or organic (and not so much for the cooking), I would suggest passing in favor of a more robust offering. The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan, Organic, Inc.: Natural Foods and How They Grew and To Buy or Not to Buy Organic: What You Need to Know to Choose the Healthiest, Safest, Most Earth-Friendly Food are all books I recommend on the subject.
Belgia Endive and Fennel Gratin:
6 Belgian endive
3 Fennel Bulbs
1 C Chicken Stock
2 Tbs Salted Butter
Juice of 1 Lemon
1 Tbs. Sugar
2 Tbs. Heavy Cream
1 C finely grated Swiss Cheese
1/2 C Plain Dry Bread Crumbs.
From starters like German Potato Pancakes to desserts like Amy B's Espresso Chocolate Pudding Cake this book has it all and it is all organic! Wish it had a sprial bound binding, but other than that, no complaints about this book!
The book is very pretty. Photographs of delicious looking food and the very slender and beautiful Anna Getty, long flowing locks carefully disarranged, dressed perfectly in bright colors beside artfully placed flowers, vegetables, and her equally beautiful and perfectly dressed daughter -- Goldberg and Hamad, the photographers, know what they are doing.
It is the text that disappoints. The first 46 pages offer an introduction to Getty's life, an explanation of why we should go green and organic, and tips for "greening your kitchen." Sounds good. But the tips range from the obvious to the absurd. "Being a friend to the environment feels really good." For money saving, "Look for items on sale," "Compare prices...," and "Buy larger sizes...prices drop when you buy in bulk." Um, no kidding. (Ironically, the money saving tips have a full page to themselves -- the text itself takes up slightly over a third of the page.) Much of the text in these pages and in nicely colored boxes consists of warnings. These do not seem very useful to the likely audience for a book like this. They read more like a network television special designed to scare than the informative tips that I had expected.
More seriously, there seems a real disconnect between the recipes and the tips. A better cookbook would integrate the essential concepts with the recipes. The recipes are, however, extraordinarily simple. Bordering on simplistic. Put barbecue sauce on a piece of salmon and cook the salmon simple. (That's a paraphrased version of an actual recipe and only one of many similar examples.)
However, the most baffling issue with the recipes is the disconnect between some titles and the actual ingredients. Wouldn't one reasonably expect a recipe titled "Coconut Chicken Curry over Basmati Rice with Almonds and Raisins" to have coconut in it? It doesn't. I read through the ingredients five times, thinking I was missing it. I went back to the preface and introduction thinking that there might be an explanation for titling a recipe something without including a key ingredient. Nothing.
Tomato sauces made with a can of peeled tomatoes or with tomato paste. Hard to understand how a cookbook whose stated purpose is to help readers "go green" and organic can be peppered with recipes such as this.
So there you have it. Pretty book. Pretty shallow book. I do not recommend.
*Sit up straight, keep your elbows off the table!
*Clear your plate! Remember, there are starving children in _____________ !
*Eat it - it is good for you!
and last, but hardly least
Use it up! Wear it out! Make it do or do without!
I don't need someone to tell me to save my glass jars. Reusing them is a way of life, a life-long habit, along with using up the leftovers and turning the stale bread into croutons, bread crumbs, poultry stuffing and bread pudding. When I read that water used to steam vegetables should be used to water plants I cringe at the very idea of throwing away all those lovely vitamins instead of adding that water to the stock pot or using it as the liquid in your homemade bread.
I also happen to be a medical scientist. Underline & capitalize scientist. And I have to tell you, by far the greatest majority of "Green Tips" that Anna Getty includes are nothing more or less than propaganda. Let me give you an example:
Getty write on page 121 "Did you know. . . . about half of the tomatoes tested in 2004 contained pesticide residues. The frequency & levels of pesticides in imported tomatoes exceeded those in domestic fruit . . . . "
Here is what I think as a scientist -
*Who did this study? Where is the citation? Getty gives not a single citation for any of the purported scientific data that she claims. Without that, this information has no scientific validity at all.
*How many domestic tomatoes were tested? Where did they come from? How many imported tomatoes? What was their country of origin? Who imported them? Which pesticides were tested for? Who did the testing? And most importantly -
*How did these values compare to established acceptable levels?
All of these unsubstantiated claims originate with the Organic Center that Getty is associated with, a fact clearly stated by Getty on pages 10 & 11. In writing about the Organic Center Getty writes on page 10 "Learning about their work was a real awakening for me. I decided I wanted to be of service by spreading their message about the healing qualities of all things organic." Make no mistake, this is a book with an agenda, a work of propaganda full of unsubstantiated partial or outright mis-information.
Lets take salt - sodium chloride, NaCl. On page 174 Getty writes "Did you know. . . . Himalayan sea salt is the purest of salts, is uncontaminated by pollutants and toxins, and is rich in 84 minerals."
Hmmmm. You might have noticed that there is no "sea" in the Himalayas. Salt perhaps, but not sea salt. Chemically, "purest" means that NaCl contains nothing at all other than sodium (Na) and Chloride (Cl). Salt "rich in 84 minerals" cannot possibly be purest.
Now compare that to the familiar brand on your grocer's shelves - you know, the one in the blue box with the little girl carrying an umbrella on the label. The one that isn't "pure" because it says "Iodized" on the label. That salt contains iodine - a vital mineral that is absolutely essential for thyroid function and all too often missing in the diet. (The other major source is fish.) Iodine is present in salt for the same reason that the milk you buy contains Vitamin D - to prevent devastating diseases.
One other thing about that "green" "organic" salt. According to some in the green movement, our oceans are almost irretrievably polluted. How is it that the evaporation of water to produce salt magically carries with it all of that dangerous pollution? Hint: doesn't happen. Salt made from polluted water will be polluted. From a scientific point of view, an awful lot of this book is so much malarkey.
Finally, I am a mother and grandmother, one who has spent a lifetime feeding a family on a budget. I've shopped at the co-op for 40 years. I buy in bulk, I buy my spices without jars, I make all of our bread and baked goods from scratch. I also happen to live in an area where there are numerous sources for local, organic meat, produce and eggs. I have never once come across yogurt in glass jars - not even in some of the largest coops in the nation. I can tell you unequivocally that while organic chicken might be nice - if you can find it - I can buy 2 pheasants, a fairly substantial buffalo or venison roast, quite some little bit of local grass-fed beef, emu, duck, or local turkey for about the same price that I would have to pay for a single, rather small "organic" chicken. As a matter of fact, I can buy lobster for less per pound than I can buy organic chicken. This is not a book to be relied on for either advice or recipes if you happen to live on a grocery budget - even a fairly generous grocery budget.
This is not a book that I can recommend. I found only one or two recipes in the book that my family would eat, though the vegetarian among us might find another handful. (Of those, the Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumbles are accompanied by another unsubstantiated "Did you know" designed to convince the American buying public to never eat strawberries again.) "Easy Green Organic" is, in fact, a book I would advise you to leave on the shelf. Getty says that she would like to educate us. I would advise her to acquire a little more education herself first, paying particular attention to less biased sources. If you want to "go green" and want reliable help and advice along with attractive, thrifty recipes, buy yourself a copy of Forgotten Skills of Cooking: The Time-Honored Ways are the Best - Over 700 Recipes Show You Why instead. One of the best cookbooks I've seen in quite some while, worth every single one of all 5 stars!