Book Reviews

Book review: Simply Organic.

Organic food is now becoming more popular since well-educated people are concerned about the health-giving properties of the food they consume.

For a few decades now large food corporations have been farming thousands of acres; quality and taste being secondary considerations. All they want is quantity and will go to great lengths to obtain it. This goes as far as commissioning specialized research companies to develop hybrids that grow faster or bigger, or both, to increase yield, while sacrificing flavour.

Lettuce, potatoes, carrots and many other vegetables and fruits are developed to absorb water in excessive quantities growing larger than originally intended by nature. Needless to say, these vegetables and fruits offer weak flavours.

The same is true for chickens, beef, and pork. Lamb is still not much tempered with through chemicals, hormones, and other artificial treatments.

Jesse Ziff Cool, a restaurateur and caterer believes in organic and healthy food, but as a practitioner also knows that occasionally organic ingredients can be impossible to find. In such cases she is prepared to make concessions.

In Simply Organic she explains the advantages of healthy eating and cooking using seasonal produce, all the while emphasising locally grown food. In the nine chapters of this lavishly illustrated book you will find easy-to-prepare recipes for spring, late spring, early summer, midsummer, Indian summer, autumn, early winter and deep winter.

This is a book for people who value healthy, tasty and flavourful food, interested in good cooking, and don’t mind spending time shopping.

Organic food is less readily available as id the mass-produced version, and more expensive. The increased cost is the result of lower yields per acre but more intense flavour. Fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides are chemicals that encourage vegetables and fruits to absorb more water and thus grow large but offer less intense flavours.

If you compare the taste if a commercially grown iceberg lettuce to an organic one you will be convinced for eternity that the latter tastes much better. Iceberg lettuce lacks flavour to begin, and with diluted taste you are essentially ingesting large quantities of water in a web of greens.

If you wish to experiment with romaine or cos lettuce, the result will be the same.
In Simply Organic, the author offers recipes that ordinary people can confidently duplicate at home. She conceded substitutes may have to be employed. She is a realist and not a zealot when it comes to cooking.
This is a book all should buy, read, and use as many recipes as practicable and desired. The results will be health-giving meals proudly prepared and offered to family and friends.

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