By: Elizabeth Webber Akre
It’s true. I can’t remember when it began. But, somewhere along the way, I began loving cookbooks. I read them, I re-read them, I make notes in them, I collect them. When I moved away from home, I think I pilfered a couple books from my mom. I remember flipping through her copy of The Joy of Cooking and this really cool, and complex, Chinese cookbook she had. The first book I remember buying for myself was what my sister and I lovingly refer to as “The Blue Cookbook.” It’s real title is the Land O’Lakes Treasury of Country Recipes.
It was 1992, I was working in a doctor’s office and a traveling book sales lady came in with this wondrous volume. I had to have it. I still have it (again.) It took a hiatus from me when my sister moved to Colorado and it ended up out there for a few years. Now it’s back. It’s missing its spine, but it’s still as good as ever!
Sometimes my friends and family get a chuckle out of my cookbook collection. I think maybe it’s the specificity that cracks them up. I have an entire book on rice. Another on Indian food. Another on Chinese, and believe it or not, one on Georgian food (that would be the former Soviet republic of Georgia, not the Peach State). Two about nothing but salad. One about cookies, one about ice cream and one specifically about Thanksgiving. And yes, it’s true, I have one about leafy greens.
That’s right, you heard me. It’s Mark Bittman’s cookbook entitled Leafy Greens; An A-to-Z guide to 30 types of greens plus more than 120 delicious recipes. Ok, I realize you may be laughing right now, but consider this … in today’s world, all you hear about is eating whole foods, antioxidants, fiber. Well, leafy greens are the answer. The problem is that most people grew up dreading their mom serving up “a whole mess o’greens” because they were boiled to within an inch of their lives, dark, mushy, slimy and then there was that delightful aroma in the air. What attracted me to this cook book is that this chef set out to prove that you can fortify your diet with these nutritional powerhouses and actually enjoy it.
If you don’t view yourself as a fan of green leafies, take a step back and think about it. Find this book and you’ll be amazed at how you can incorporate greens into your meals. For example: mustard greens with 5-spice powder (on my to-do list), spinach gnocchi, coconut curry soup with chard. Too many good choices to name here. We all need to take better care of ourselves and those of us with kids are doing our best to feed our kids the best possible foods. This will get them started on a healthy path, vary their palates and lead them into a life-long adventure with food. For you, it will help add some variety and spice and major vitamins to your diet. As we age, we tend to get into ruts, don’t we?
Cheers! Here’s to turning over a new leaf! (Ok, that was corny, but how could I not go there???)