Along with my newfound love for cooking has come a love for cookbooks. Prior to learning to cook the only cookbooks I owned were a 1970s cookbook on how to microwave anything (microwaved steak anyone?) and another 1970s cookbook devoted entirely to fondue. I mean those are both amazing in their own right, but one could not terribly useful. Or appetizing in the case of the former. Something had to be (fon)done.
The newest cookbook to arrive at my doorstep is the Skinnytaste Cookbook*, written by Gina Homolka, author of Skinnytaste.com. I chose this book more out of curiosity than anything. I’m not terribly calorie conscious when it comes to meals whatsoever. And I don’t believe in diets or this whole “low-fat” mindset. I eat full fat everything – yogurt, cheese, butter. And I try to use fresh, local ingredients (farmer’s market forever!) when available and try to stay away from processed food as much as possible. As long as a recipe adheres to those basic tenets, I’m all for it.
However, recently I’m been becoming more and more aware of the fact that there are two things in my diet that there definitely should be less of:
I’m a sugar junkie. I have been since I was a kid. My mom always called me a “junkfood junkie.” Luckily, she kept me in check. However, as an adult I suddenly realized,
I CAN EAT AS MUCH CAKE AS I WANT TO AND NO CAN STOP ME. AND IT CAN BE A MEAL. OR ALL MEALS.
I CAN TOTALLY EAT FROZEN PIZZA OR PASTA WITH CHEESE FOR DINNER EVERY NIGHT.
Those two things pretty much sum up how I ate through most of my 20s. Now that I’m (ugh I can barely type this) nearing 30, I’ve realized it’s probably not the best idea to eat as much salt and sugar. And when I started looking up how much sodium and sugar are in so many unexpected things, I was a floored. So, when I saw skinnytaste, I thought it interesting to try out some lighter recipes and mix them in with copious amounts of avocado toast eaten regularly. MODERATION, MAN. MODERATION.
The Good: It’s a gorgeous cookbook. It’s absolutely enormous and has recipes for every meal. I was really excited about that – I like to play around with breakfast on weekends especially so I love cookbooks that cover everything. It also has a sandwich section. I love sandwiches. I love sandwiches as much as Liz Lemon and Joey Tribbiani combined. Sarah’s favorite food: SANDWICHES.
I also really dig that every recipe has all the nutritional info on the bottom of the page, including sodium and sugar. This saves me an exorbitant amount of time throwing my recipes into a recipe calculator to try to get nutritional facts for sodium and sugar. And I was excited to see that most of the recipes contain really reasonable amounts of sodium, instead of 1000s of milligrams!
Also, the recipes are all easily to understand – there is nothing in there that is so complicated that you want to toss the cookbook into the garbage disposal. And the ingredients are all accessible – you won’t have to hunt various grocery stores for that special type of cheese. And she also uses a ton of fresh ingredients – lots of vegetables!
The Not-So-Good: I had assumed the cookbook was going to be healthy recipes. Which in my mind doesn’t necessarily mean light on calories – it means fresh ingredients. I was wrong. A lot of ingredients I wouldn’t use: light mayo, fat free yogurt, fake peanut butter, canola oil. Like I said, I’m not about cutting fat, but I guess I should’ve known that “skinny” was going to be cutting calories however possible. On the flipside, I do appreciate that she advocates for real sweeteners and real dairy products (butter, cream.)
While the recipes are decent, none of them are terribly imaginative. My favorite cookbook (which I’ll be going into detail about soon!) has recipes that I see and think,
OH GOD I CAN’T LIVE ANOTHER DAY WITHOUT HAVING THIS IN MY MOUTH.
While a lot of these sound good, like the Chicken Pasta Caprese or the Butter Squash Lasagna Rolls, a lot of the recipes are just common meals “lightened” up, like chicken parm, spaghetti and meatballs, mac and cheese etc Don’t get me wrong – I like a new spin on an old classic, but these aren’t really new spins as much as classics with less fat. I was hoping for new, inventive recipes.
I’m going to try out a recipe or two this weekend and I’ll document the journey, so check back for updates! (It will probably include a sandwich, FAIR WARNING!)
Have you picked up any new cookbooks lately?
*This book was provided to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review!