Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Making Real Food Real Fun

The Most Fabulous Emily Rosenbaum graciously sent me a signed copy of her cookbook, Cooking on the Edge of Insanity.

Emily is passionate about feeding her family REAL food. As in food you would recognize as actual food (vegetables and fruit that are fresh, real hunks of meat, no chemicals you can't pronounce, etc) I have to admit I was a bit nervous about reading the book, because while I really like the idea of real food, and truly believe in the importance of family meals, sometimes (OK, at least a few times a week) my family dinners consist of things like frozen lasagna (I do heat it up in the oven, but you get the idea). I shop at the grocery store, not the farmer's market, and am positive the bananas on my kitchen counter were not grown anywhere near within 100 miles of my home. I was worried that the book would fill me with guilt for all the things I'm NOT doing.

Fortunately, Emily writes with such humor and grace, and an acknowledgement that being a true Real Foodie takes passion and commitment, that I finished the book laughing and thinking about what small steps I could take to incorporate more Real Food into my family meal planning. (Plus, she makes a True Confession that will quickly let all her readers know that she's not perfect. Which is good. Because if I start striving for perfection I'm toast. Toast made from Wonderbread. White Wonderbread. Full of unpronounceable stuff)

More than just a collection of recipes, Emily has filled the book with stories about how and why she developed the recipes. The stories give ideas of how to plan ahead, how to include your children in the process, how cook beans one day to use in several recipes over the coming week. The stories help to show the big picture... beyond the creation of the food to eat, the WHY of the way it's prepared. The WHY of the ingredients. The reasons WHY Emily is teetering on the edge of insanity, and the good things it has led her to create.

The first recipe I plan to try is her Bakeless Peanut Butter Cookies. First, because they have my absolute favorite food in them. Peanut butter. Yum.... Also, because Emily thinks they are healthy enough for breakfast. And if I can get my child to eat them for breakfast, I think our whole lives would be so much easier. And how hard can it be to get my child to eat COOKIES for breakfast? (Please, don't answer that)

I'm also going to try to use more fresh fruits and vegetables. To soak my beans instead of opening a can. To plan ahead so I'm not stuck pulling out the frozen pizza at the last minute.To cut down on the amount of chemicals in my kitchen (I suppose I should start in the most obvious place, by kicking - once again - my diet soda habit. Shhh... don't tell Emily)

Emily has agreed to give away a copy of her book to one of my readers. So PLEASE, leave me a comment about your thoughts on eating more Real Food, and I'll pick a winner at random on August 1st (and if you already have Emily's book, feel free to leave a comment... IF you promise to give your winning copy away as a gift. Or just tell me to leave you out of the drawing). I plan to purchase a book to give to a friend of mine, a single mom feeding her own voracious little boy as much real food as she can find and afford in NYC.