It’s tricky to work in healthier foods when you have kids who only want to eat mac and cheese (and only the yellow kind, with the tube pasta), but for the sake of myself and my family I keep trying. My attempt to eat better is a work in progress that will probably end with me dying of a heart attack in my eighties after fighting with my nurse over my secret stash of Tootsie Rolls. (The first line of my eulogy: “Meredith Bland was full of love: she loved her children, she loved her husband, and, unfortunately, she loved her Tootsie Rolls. Which brings us to the reason we are gathered here today….”)
My latest attempt at healthy eating involved the new cookbook A Good Food Day, by Marco Canora. This book is beautiful: the photos are great, the recipes are clear, and there’s lots of helpful information about better ways to eat. Unfortunately, as I flipped through the pages, I realized that I will never be one of those super-healthy kale-eating smoothie-making people. I am not good enough for this cookbook.
Here are a few recipes, with the parts that are impossible for Meredith crossed out:
Buckwheat Groats with Apricots and Almonds
That sounds frickin’ delicious, but “buckwheat groat” is clearly something that gets cleaned out of a machine. According to Canora, however, it is “…actually the seed of a plant similar to rhubarb, not a type of wheat.” This makes me all kinds of suspicious. First of all, why can’t we say the name of the plant? What’s wrong with this plant that makes it unnameable in a cookbook? Second, why not then be honest and call the recipe, “Seeds of Unnamed Stalked Vegetable With Apricots and Almonds.” And finally, I object to using the word “wheat” for something that isn’t wheat. It’s like capturing an opossum and introducing it to everyone as your new cat. Nice idea, but it doesn’t work.
2. Dandelion Salad with Hard-Boiled Eggs
Did I ever tell the story about the time I was pregnant and nauseous and an old man started peeling a hard-boiled egg next to me? It ends the way you think it does. And I know a lot of people who say that dandelion greens are delicious, I’m just not there yet. It seems like the kind of food you eat when you’re starving to death in a field, and it doesn’t kill you, so you put some olive oil on it and keep going.
3. Cream-Free Creamed Corn
See the discussion about the word “wheat” in number one.
Japanese Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Frittata
I can’t. I can’t go to the produce guy at Safeway and say, “No no, not regular sweet potatoes. I’m looking for Japanese sweet potatoes.” I do not have a big enough flounce or a tight enough asshole to pull that off.
Amaranth “Polenta” with Tuscan Kale
If the name of a recipe includes a food in quotes, I’m intrigued but not particularly hungry. And also, fucking kale. The end.
I’m going to stop there, but I think it’s clear why I will fail at health. All of the above recipes might be insanely delicious, but the chances that I will make them and that my children and husband will eat them are negative never.
I’m not writing off this cookbook, though. I tried two of the recipes and they were out of this world.
1. Roasted Broccoli with Hazelnuts and Pecorino
It was like the heavens opened up when I ate this broccoli. I mean…it’s the best broccoli I have ever had. Ever. EVER.
Whole Wheat Rigatoni with Porcini Mushrooms and Baby Spinach
Now, I had to make this using regular rigatoni and had to leave out the mushrooms because I wanted my kids to eat it. They weren’t excited about the spinach, but they ate it and said it was “okay.” I LOVED it. And if my kids tolerate something and I love it, I call that a huge success.
If I were a better person and someone who didn’t struggle with making cereal, I would make everything in this book and probably love 99% of it. The two recipes I did try were awesome. I’m just not a “Roasted Carrots with Millet and Mint-Pistachio Pesto” kind of girl. But if someone wants to make it for me, I’m all in.
Note: This cookbook was given to me for free by the Blogging for Books program. All opinions are my own.