By Barbara and Tamar Haspel
When Barbara Haspel's husband Chuck had a heart attack in 1989, the doctor prescribed coronary bypass sugary, plenty of exercise, and a low-fat, high vegetable diet. In those days, broccoli was often the only vegetable of choice in restaurants, and Chuck ate enough of it to make it one of those jokes people share when they've been married a long time. "Watch out," Barbara would tease whenever she spotted the dark green stalk headed their way, it's Dreaded Broccoli."
But she knew it wasn't a laughing matter. In order to save her husband's life—and his taste buds, Barbara recruited daughter Tamar to help experiment with a range of new ingredients in search of tasty, healthful meals. They scoured markets for interesting vegetables and grains, they learned to make the most of lean meats, poultry, and pretty much everything that came from the ocean, and they ate well. Chuck was healthy, his doctor was happy, Barbara and Tamar kept cooking and The Dreaded Broccoli Cookbook was born.
Based on the popular quarterly newsletter also known as Dreaded Broccoli, The Dreaded Broccoli Cookbook is a compilation of 100 delicious low-fat recipes complete with fat and calorie counts, that offers healthful feasible meals to share with family and friends-all without spending endless hours in front of the stove. Barbara and Tamar's approach to cooking is simple—it's not high art, but a craft for the every day. Filled with amusing, shamelessly quirky stories about everything from soup stocks to nuts, the mother-daughter team encourages improvisation and imprecision. "Ah Dessert," Tamar comments on one of her favorite subjects. "As much enthusiasm as I can muster for beets...I can unfortunately muster quite a bit more for bread pudding. Or chocolate soufflé. But I usually make my dessert enthusiasm take a back seat to my beet (and asparagus, and spinach and mushroom) enthusiasm because if I didn't I'd be buying clothes from Omar the Tentmaker."
In addition to the recipes, The Dreaded Broccoli Cookbook offers innovative strategies to achieve a level of comfort, speed and familiarity in the kitchen using a combination of leftover and staple ingredients, a state the Haspels call "pantry momentum". Other tips include vegetable preparation, creating lower-fat desserts, combining grains and legumes, and choosing and preparing lean meats and poultry.
Use these techniques to prepare a flavorful and creative meal beginning with a creamy Leek and Mushroom Risotto, followed by Baked Salmon stuffed with Mushrooms and Tomatoes, and a slice of Nutritionally Correct One-Bowl Chocolate Cake for dessert. Other tasty choices might include: Three Layer Polenta Casserole; Cornmeal Griddlecakes; Root Roast; The Definitive Potato Salad; Nippy Greens; and light treats like Poached Pears; Pumpkin Custard; and Italian Lemon Cookies. Shopping guides list the top 10 staple foods, favorite herbs and spices, as well as a hilarious look into the world of "labor-saving" kitchen gadgets divided appropriately into the 'Hall of Fame' and 'House of Shame.'
The Dreaded Broccoli Cookbook shines among typically humorless health cookbooks. With beautifully written commentaries, it is as comfortable on the bookshelf in the kitchen as it is on the bedside nightstand. In their entertaining, breezy, iconoclastic style, Barbara and Tamar take the dreaded-ness out of healthful cooking by suggesting simple, manageable lifestyle changes, acknowledging that not everyone is a five-star chef and that making mistakes is all part of the fun.
With no-nonsense, easy-to follow recipes in The Dreaded Broccoli Cookbook, real people who are at risk for heart disease, concerned with weight control or who just want to eat healthfully can take back their kitchens from the guys in white, whether they're wearing chef's toques or lab coats and enjoy cooking up healthy, fresh, and fun meals for the entire family.
The Dreaded Broccoli Cookbook:
A Good Natured Guide to Healthful Eating with 100 Recipes
By Barbara and Tamar Haspel
Publication date: April 1999
Information provided by the publisher.
This page created June 1999
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