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Book review

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Book review

Buy Healthy Starts Here! at Amazon.caHealthy Starts Here! 104 Recipes That Will Make You Feel Great by Mairlyn Smith, PHEc Whitecap Books, 2001, 352 pages, $29.95 ISBN: 978-1-77050-039-6 It’s never too late to begin eating healthier. This is the theme of Mairlyn Smith’s newest cookbook, Healthy Starts Here! With an emphasis on fresh, local produce, low sodium content, disease-fighting ingredients, and dishes that just taste good, Smith has created the go-to cookbook for Canadian kitchens. Smith’s background as a professional home economist combined with her experience as a home economics instructor and seasoned food writer makes her the perfect cookbook scribe—she has insight into financial management, nutrition, and consumer education. This knowledge can be seen in the dozens of time-saving, nutrition-boosting how-to tips spread throughout the book, all served up in a delightfully charming manner. Smith’s Healthy Starts Here! begins with a brief lesson on nutrition, with information on proper serving sizes, an explanation of nutritional data, and a thorough section on sodium. Her light, conversational tone helps this lesson go down smoothly without being preachy. Next is a lesson on cooking basics, which, according to Smith, is “for anyone who missed grade 8 Home Ec.” She covers everything from her favourite ingredients to kitchen safety. While this portion of Healthy Starts Here! may not include new information for all, it’s sure to contain at least a nugget for even the most seasoned cooks. I mean, how many of us really know how to dice a mango properly? The bulk of Smith’s cookbook is, of course, recipes—beginning with a chapter dedicated to apples: Apple Chips, Apple-Cheddar Soup, and Apple- Date Muffins, for starters. The final chapter is not dedicated to zucchinis, as one might guess (get it, apples to zucchinis), but to dinner party menus designed specifically for each season, based on locally available produce. For those who’ve never hosted a dinner party, this chapter is a godsend. In addition to the mouthwatering menu, Smith provides a “game plan” for each menu, breaking down tasks into “the day before,” “the day of,” “one hour before,” and so on. Although all the recipes excite the senses, a few definitely stand out as flavour winners, such as the fresh, coleslaw-topped Salmon Tacos, the herb-infused Summer Pea and Mint Salad, and the savoury Broccoli with Peanut Sauce. Who knew eating this healthy could be this tasty? buy this book at Amazon.ca

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