Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What to Eat. This book might change me! You?

What to Eat

What to Eat (Joanna Blythman), Eason’s €20.40

What to Eat is the title of the latest eye-opening book by experienced food writer Joanna Blythman and comes highly recommended.
Darina Allen: “A badly needed encyclopaedia of facts and common sense on food and nutrition fro which I am truly grateful.”
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall: “Joanna Blythman has one of the sanest heads in the western world – and this brilliant book encapsulates her admirably clear thinking in a wonderful accessible, entertaining way.”
I’ve seen the accessible bit questioned elsewhere because, amazingly, the almost 400 page book has no overall index. True, each chapter starts with a list of items to be found there. That helps but an overall index would have been so much better.
That quibble aside, this is an enormously helpful book about “Food that’s good for your health, for your pocket and plate”.
The title is, by the way, a statement, not a question. Basically, Joanna sets out her food philosophy in the introduction which features “The 20 principles of eating, made simple” and “10 ways to save money on food without compromising your principles”.
The sensible principles include:
-       Get your food variety over the year, not in a week.
-       Understand the benefits of organic food.
-       Don’t eat foods that trash the planet.

Principles sometimes lead to an uncompromising rigidity. Not so with author Blythman: “You don’t have to get hung up on eating 100 per cent organic though. There are many high-quality, wholesome foods around that do not come with organic certification – such as grass-reared meat, game, wild fish and hand-made cheeses.”

She then moves on to what Darina rightly terms the “encyclopaedia of facts and commonsense”. Chapter headings are: Vegetables, Meat, Dairy, Fish, Fruit, Larder.
Each food gets its own few pages, Take the humble spud, for instance. There is a general discussion, also helpful hints on “how to buy real spuds, not duds” and a variety of ways on how best to use them.
Virtually every food item (I’ve used potatoes as an example below)  in the book is treated in the same manner and the very detailed info comes under various headings:
-       What to do with potatoes
-       Are potatoes good for me
-       How are potatoes grown
-       Are potatoes a green choice
-       When and where should I buy potatoes
-       Will potatoes break the bank?
Quite a lot of info in the 400 pages and all delivered in a clear style and in some detail (potatoes, for instance, get six pages to themselves).

This hard cover un-illustrated book cost me €20.40 at Eason’s. I reckon it is very good vale indeed.

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