The Healthy Kitchen: Recipes for a Better Body, Life, and Spirit  

by Andrew Weil, M.D. and Rosie Daley , New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002

Reviewed by Bess R. Emanuel for Good Cooking
May, 2002

Two heavyweights in the world of healthy eating--Rosie Daley, who gained fame as Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef, and Dr. Andrew Weil, author of the best-selling Eating Well for Optimum Health--have teamed up to present a cookbook and information manual on this topic, combining their individual perspectives for a book which is entertaining, lovely to look at, and educational.  While this is laid out as a cookbook, and covers everything from appetizers through desserts, it is also a resource book on healthy eating.  I learned much new information and was pleased to find that this book is not a preachy, everything-is-bad-for-you treatise, but a guide which was written by two people who are enthusiastic about eating and finding ways to enjoy foods, or as Rosie says: “Eating should be about fulfillment, not denial.”  In addition to trying several recipes, I finally came to understand the differences between green and black tea (they are really the same plant, just processed differently), and was pleasantly surprised to read Dr.

Weil’s take on chocolate:

“…it has many attributes that recommend it for inclusion in an optimum diet…chocolate appears to be neutral, at worst, in regard to cardiovascular health and may actually lower serum cholesterol…” (p. 301)

Rosie and Andy (as he’s referred to in this book) bring somewhat different views to the information and recipes, so the book is laid out in such a way that each person’s view is presented; Andy’s in green “Andy suggests” boxes, and Rosie’s in tan “Tips from Rosie’s Kitchen” ones.  Occasionally they each present a recipe for a particular item, such as vegetable stock.  In addition to the collection of recipes, there is information about everything from menu planning to discussion of the pros and cons of salt, stocking the pantry, nutrition and health and more.

One excellent feature in this book, which many of us have come to expect and value in cookbooks and cooking magazines: alongside every recipe, there is a sidebar with the nutritional information detailed.

I tried two of the recipes and produced good-tasting dishes but found the directions somewhat lacking. The Barley and Vegetable Soup was pretty easy and produced a tasty soup, although I would have appreciated a little more direction about the vegetable preparation (items were listed as “1 cup chopped carrot” etc., and I would have appreciated an approximate idea of how many carrots that might take, and also some direction about the size pieces I should wind up with, since this has a bearing on the cooking time). One feature of the book that I took advantage of for this recipe was a suggestion about substitutions or shortcuts—in this case, Andy’s:

“If you …do not have time to make your own stock, use instant vegetable broth powder (preferably low-sodium) from a natural food store.”

Even without making my own stock, the soup was flavorful, and, like most soups, tasted even better the second day.

My other attempt was the Multi-Grain Scones.  This recipe was a bit confusing: the sidebar with nutritional information said “makes 6 servings”, but in the recipe itself it said “you should have 10 scones”.  However, after following the directions for scooping up tablespoonfuls of dough to put on the baking pan, I found that I had thirteen!  This might explain why my test audience, while enjoying the flavor very much, complimented me on the delicious cookies!!  For a second attempt, being more generous with the amount of dough on the tablespoon and producing fewer scones will lead to a more “scone-like” and “scone-looking” item!  I will also take Rosie up on her suggestion for this recipe and try it with soy milk instead of regular milk, which should make the members of my family who are allergic to dairy very happy.

Despite mixed results, I will try other recipes in this book, as there are many which sound delicious.  I’m particularly eager to try one which Rosie describes as her favorite: Baked Spicy Tofu with Bean Thread Noodles, Mango and Corn.  And I find myself nibbling with much less guilt when I eat some of Andy’s recommended snack foods:

bulletA piece of fresh fruit
bulletSome dried fruit
bulletA small handful of raw, unsalted nuts—pistachios, cashews, or walnuts
bulletA flavorful piece of natural cheese
bulletA piece of dark chocolate.

Good Cooking wished there were more pictures of the actual dishes and fewer pictures of Weil and Daley.  Still it didn't take anything away from the content.

Barley and Vegetable Soup


Barley is a grain that is unfamiliar to most of us. The round, chewy kernels are delightful in soup, especially in a well-flavored vegetable broth. Barley and mushrooms are used together in many dishes from central and eastern Europe.

3/4 cup medium pearl barley
11 cups vegetable stock (page 123) 
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup mushrooms (shiitake, crimini, or regular button), thinly sliced 
1/2 cup chopped celery
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup dry sherry or vermouth

Garnish
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Rinse the barley and place it in a saucepan with 3 cups of the stock and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, about 1 hour. Remove from the heat and fluff the barley with a fork.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot and add the onions, carrots, mushrooms, and celery. Cook the vegetables for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until they begin to soften.
Add the remaining stock and salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add the cooked barley and sherry or vermouth, mix well, and simmer for 5 minutes more. Correct the seasoning. Garnish with the chopped parsley.

SERVES 8
PER SERVING:
CALORIES 331
FAT 7G 
SATURATED FAT 1G
(19% OF CALORIES FROM FAT)
PROTEIN 25 G
CARBOHYDRATE 39 G
CHOLESTEROL O MG
FIBER 13 G