Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cooking for Special Diets

I think that cooking for someone with a special diet is often difficult.  We are so accustomed to cooking with a lot of dairy, meat, salt, and sugar in America.  I fall into this group wholeheartedly.  I try to be wise about all of these ingredients and eat them in moderation.  Two months ago, I wanted to decrease the sugar in my family's diet.  So, my answer was to look for some new recipes.  That's usually my first impulse when it comes to cooking.  When I have recipes I want to make and that sounds good, I'm much more likely to make them.  

Because I wanted to decrease the amount of sugar, I thought of cookbooks for diabetics, since they have to have diets low in sugar.  I requested two diabetic cookbooks for review.  I really enjoyed America's Best Cookbook for Kids with Diabetes.  I wrote a review here two months ago.  Since then, I've been sporadically cooking recipes from the second diabetes cookbook I have, 250 Essential Diabetes Recipes.

I've made a white sauce for my fish, the broccoli ranch salad, classic greek salad dressing, and an eggplant dip.  The white sauce needed spice.  The Broccoli salad was surprisingly good.  The Greek salad dressing was pretty salty, but good.  The eggplant dip was declined by my husband after a few bites.  He wasn't crazy about the strong celery taste to it.  

What I loved about the Kids cookbook was that the recipes had just enough spice for kids and enough to keep parents happy.  In contrast, the recipes from this cookbook were quite bland except for the broccoli salad.  I'm going to rabbit trail for just a second...

I have noticed that many cookbooks from the 1950s and 60s had recipes in them that were very basic and mild.  Usually the recipes didn't have a lot of spice in them or strong flavors.  Over the years, the number of cookbooks has greatly multiplied!  There are still those cookbooks with pretty mild dishes, but there are also many cookbooks that have plenty of spice in their recipes.  My tastes fall toward the more flavorful side.  So, with those random thoughts...

The recipes from this cookbook reminded me a lot of those blander recipes from days long ago.  They weren't bad recipes, but they simply weren't as packed as flavor as I'd like.  

But, there are many strengths of this cookbook.  1) The formatting, as with all Robert Rose cookbooks, is great.  The recipes are so easy to read and understand.  None of the recipes are very difficult to make.  There's a very helpful introduction at the front of the cookbook.  2) You can modify the recipes in this cookbook.  With special diets, food often needs to be bland so that it will settle with someone's stomach.  If that's what you're looking for, this cookbook will meet that need.  Also, if there's an ingredient (like my husband and celery), adjust the amount you add to the recipe.

If you're looking for a diabetes cookbook to check out of the library, look this one up.  The pictures are appealing and it's easy to use.  You may find that it's a good fit for you and it will give you a place to start.

Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this cookbook from Robert Rose for review.

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