Monday, March 30, 2015
This is a pretty cookbook, and it has some recipes that sound/look tasty. However, there is something really off about the tone of this book. I love Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Everyday, which this bears some relation to in (and Swanson blurbed this book), but while Swanson's book is smart and serious, this book feels like a dumbed-down version of the whole food-eating thing. I can't quite put my finger on it, but the author seems to be erring more on the side of diet food than just natural food, and I'm not a fan of that at all. Overall, the book has a feel and look that reminds me of a Food Network celebrity chef cookbook, and I am also not into that. It's like the author is being packaged as a sort of low-rent Giada deLaurentiis. Who needs that? I want good food and a food philosophy that seems well-thought-out. I also found it baffling that this book seems like a vegetarian cookbook, but then there are maybe 5 fish recipes randomly sprinkled in, and one with turkey. It just seems very random, and suggests to me that there isn't a lot of thought behind the makeup of this book. I also dislike the author's rhetoric of "a tastier take on whole foods." Who is still saying whole foods don't taste good?? People have been cooking whole foods in delicious ways forever, but even if we put that aside, there have been many, many well-known cookbooks that are all about whole foods and have been very well-received by non-"hippies." So why do we need this erratic, confused, and not very interesting version? Everything about this book is a bit off, as if it's trying to be something it doesn't quite understand. Just buy Heidi Swanson's books and bypass this one.
Monday, March 23, 2015
This is a wonderful statement about personal libraries and why we have books, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, in his book The Black Swan. He's discussing Umberto Eco's attitude towards the collecting of books. I have definitely dealt with a few of the first type of visitor to my library.
"The writer Umberto Eco belongs to that small class of scholars who are encyclopedic, insightful, and non dull. He is the owner of a large personal lib ray (containing thirty thousand books), and separated visitors into two categories: those who react with 'Wow! Signore professore dottore Eco, what a library you have! How many of these books have you read?' and the others--a very small minority--who get the point that a private library is not an ego-boosting appendage but a research tool. Read books are far less valuable than unread ones. The library should contain as much of what you do not know as your financial means, mortgage rates, and the the currently tight real-estate market allow you to put there. You will accumulate more knowledge and more books as you grow older, and the growing number of unread books on the shelves will look at you menacingly. Indeed, the more you know, the larger the rows of unread books. Let us call this collection of unread books an antilibrary."
-Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Black Swan
Saturday, March 21, 2015
What Are You Hungry For? is Deepak Chopra's move into the diet genre for self-help. Like Mark Bittman's VB6 books, Chopra's new book (which is a paperback original) shuns the term "diet" and argues that what it is doing is more akin to changing your lifestyle by changing the way you think about food, and you will happen to lose some weight and become healthier along the way. I have to admit that I do like this new genre of diet book, which for me, at least, is a bit easier to swallow than the traditional diet philosophy. Chopra, unsurprisingly, brings pop psychology and pop Eastern philosophy to the table in formulating his revolution in your eating. While Bittman's book is pretty straight-forward and simple in its philosophy, Chopra's book is more of a mish-mash of different philosophies all thrown into a pot and mixed together. I don't think this is really the most effective way of losing weight, but at least it's not about counting calories!