It’s finally here. The book I was working for most of the first half of this year. “The Clean Plates Cookbook: Sustainable, Delicious, and Healthier Eating for Every Body.”
I haven’t talked about it a whole lot, mostly because it’s only sort of mine. I’m the “with” person in the credits on the cover. The book is the brainchild of my co-author, Jared Koch (although the recipes are totally from my kitchen).
As I mentioned in a post back in April, Jared’s a nutritional consultant who created Clean Plates, a guidebook and web site designed to help Manhattanites find restaurants serving healthy, sustainable, and tasty food. Jared went on to create Brooklyn and Los Angeles editions of the guidebook and, with plans to take on ever-more cities, he wanted a companion cookbook. That’s where I came in.
Jared’s approach is, I think, pretty brilliant. He doesn’t espouse veganism or a low-carb diet or raw foods or being gluten-free. He says that every body is different and, unfortunately, you have to think and experiment and notice how your body reacts to different foods to discover the perfect diet for you. But whatever that diet may be, says Jared, it should be clean.
But what does “clean” mean, you may, understandably, be asking?
The idea of clean eating has been bubbling up in the past couple/few years. There’s a magazine called Clean Eating (for which I write a column), Tosca Reno writes a series of Eat-Clean Diet books, Terry Walters has cookbooks called “Clean Start” and “Clean Food,” and there are even clean eating guides in both the “For Dummies” and “Complete Idiot’s” series.
Different factions define clean eating differently, but as far as I know, Jared is the only one who’s defining it as eating that’s good for your body, good for the planet, and delicious.
“The Clean Plates Cookbook” is about half Jared as nutritional coach, laying out his Five Precepts for eating and explaining what foods he favors and why. The other half if is recipes for implementing those ideas, featuring natural, high-quality, whole ingredients and including lots of vegetables. (In one my favorite parts of the first half, Jared points out that for every study espousing some type of food, there’s another that contradicts it—yet he’s found no study that recommends eating fewer vegetables.)
The recipes also feature plenty of meat and dairy products, so long as they’re high-quality and sustainably raised. There are recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, appetizers, desserts, and beverages. And there are a handful of recipes from chefs whose restaurants are recommended in the Clean Plates guidebooks.
Some of my favorites include Vanilla Pecan Granola with Steel Cut Oats, Beans and Greens Soup, Kale Salad from NYC’s Northern Spy Food Co., Poached Sablefish with Julienned Vegetables and Horseradish Yogurt, Spice-Braised Short Ribs with Red Cabbage and Mashed Celeraic, and Honey Ice Cream.
It’s delicious food you can feel good about eating. A pretty perfect way to start 2013, don’t you think?
Happy holidays—and thank you, Santa!