Eat Raw, Not Cooked. Stacy Stowers
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.
I’ve an extensive collection of cookery books, from some very old ones found in second-hand shops, to more recent ones based around different foods or chefs. At age nine my youngest child decided she would no longer eat anything that had to be killed for food, so the collection added much more vegetable and fruit based ones. She’s now early thirties BTW and still doesn’t eat anything that has to be killed. There’s a huge market now compared to the 80’s in vegetarian food, but looking at some of the ingredients I can see why they’re anything but healthy! So this book intrigued me – I always thing we – and I’m guilty too – don’t make enough of our vegetables, and though I love fruit raw the thought of raw veg, apart from traditional salads has me head shaking and thinking “what can I do with this to make it appetising???”
Well,this book was a real eye opener for me. There are some amazing photos, and when I read the recipes I would never have connected the ingredients to what I was seeing. I love the way Stacy has taken the ready fast foods everyone loves, and produced something that looks very similar but is far, far healthier. Presumably it tastes good too, from what I’d read. At first I thought I was just going to get a book of salads and more salads as that’s all I could thing of, but here we’ve a complete menu from starters and tasters, to Stacy’s version of pasta, chinese and thai traditionals, tortillas – even the ubiquitous Burger makes an appearance…and the desserts…. wonderful creations and the most mouthwatering chocolate delights.
Though there are few “gadgets” needed, Stacy does give her essential kitchen preparation implements, and for those who don’t have the all singing, all dancing, but very expensive blender, she recommends soaking certain foods beforehand – nuts mainly – so they are easier to blend. I was interested too in how to stop nuts becoming a nut butter or paste when you want them to become flour…If you want more than just a raw food as occasional meal it’s essential I think, from what I read, to buy a dehydrator. In the UK these tend to be a specialist thing – I don’t know if they’re more common in US? I guess maybe its another example of a “divided by a common language” thing. Again, same as for foods, a quick google search has shown me they’re easily available online. Many of the foods mentioned – chia seeds, and green papaya for example – are not commonly seen here in rural UK. Maybe in cities where there are lots of smaller specialist/ethnic food shops, but again the internet means its easy to get most things, or find an adequate substitute.
I’m glad Stacy won the battle to include soups in her Raw food book, like her I think a diet without something warming on a cold winters day would be sad…soups are a compromise and a great way of ensuring nothing is wasted too. That appeals to the side of me that hates food waste 🙂
I think this book is great for those of us who are thinking post Christmas about a more healthy diet, and the recipes are in the main very quick and simple. There’s some I’m determined to try out, and if the cash comes along and isn’t earmarked for something else, I’d love to but a dehydrator as I can see that it makes a more inclusive raw food diet easier to incorporate and so much more varied and interesting. I’m a yoghurt addict and Stacy points out how unhealthy many of the ingredients are in commercial versions, and her substitute looks so easy I’ll certainly try that out. There aren’t long lists of difficult to find ingredients, but mostly based around food that can be found locally, with a few more specialist things that can be ordered from the internet. I think by starting with the easily sourced ingredients and adding a few extras to our normal diet, it would be a small step to take things further and get more involved in a Raw diet. Certainly less of a shock to the average stomach! One of the great things in our hard pressed for time society is that many of these recipes can be partly prepared earlier and as they don’t need lots of cooking they’re incredibly quick to assemble.
Once again I think much as I love my kindle, this is a book that is best as a traditional print version. Until I’d read a few non fiction books I hadn’t thought about this, but its clear that for me fiction is best in ebook, but other books, reference ones, gardening and recipes etc, work best a print versions. Its easier to flick though and find what you want, and you do need colour to appreciate best these amazing, mouth watering illustrations.
Stars: five. One of those books where there really is something for everyone as far as food goes and one where anyone interested in food can learn so much.
ARC supplied by Netgalley
Trinity Stones. The Angelorum Twelve Chronicles. L.G. O’Connor
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.
So, always up for a challenge and in the mood for something different, I began this one. To be honest I restarted it several times, its such a complex novel, with so many different types of character that I just couldn’t work out who was who, and how they fitted in the plot. That’s something that I struggled with for some of them right to the end, but as this is clearly a beginning to a series then I understand the problems L.G. had of trying to set the background to a completely different type of paranormal, and also make this story interesting. I guess that’s always a problem if you want to write ( and read) more complex novels that the usual gentle, paranormal romance. And I’m all for something a bit extra, something that makes me think, uses my brain rather then just letting the words flow into my head almost effortlessly. There’s a place for both for serious readers, and I enjoyed the puzzle this book posed once I’d got past the initial barriers.
The characters and settings – great characterisations, they all felt very real but I did think the whole glossing over to friends story about what had happened was just a little too simplified. I can’t imagine my best friends just accepting the story given 🙂 but that’s fiction….The settings though – that’s where I struggled a lot. First I got to grips with Cara’s work problems – then they were over – then there’s the move to an impossibly wonderful apartment, the dangers she faced and solutions were real but in a way clichéd – someone in the group has a wonderful power to overcome that danger…OK I get they’re thousands of years old, but though I like to know what powers they have ahead of problems, I feel a bit cheated when first I learn is in the middle of what should be an impossible battle. Kai, that person bothered me – it seemed almost as if he was tweaking Cara to keep the dream of him just for his ego, and yet when we met him it didn’t seem like that – complicated situation. The friction between Sienna and Michael felt a bit forced, I didn’t really understand their problems with each other and each time they clashed it just felt unreal.
So, parts I liked, parts I loved, but there’s still so much I didn’t understand fully even at the end. Maybe with further novels that will become clearer, but I really struggled here when I just couldn’t work out who was doing what, and why. I need to know as much as I can, I like to work out alongside the story what’s going on, and what may happen, but I felt I was working partly blind. There were occurrences and conversations looking back that I now think were possibly major reveals, and yet I glossed over them trying to work out other things. I think its one of those books that will open up far more on second and subsequent readings, for those that want to do that. I just wasn’t engaged enough with the characters to do so 😦 Its a good long length which is needed as its so complex.
Stars: three, a read that was really well written, but just didn’t quite hook me in and absorb me fully.
ARC supplied by Netgalley