Review: “A Good Food Day,” Marco Canora

Pros: Delicious, healthy food
Cons: Not everything wowed me
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

 

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.

 

Marco Canora has joined the movement that pushes healthful, ‘clean’, unprocessed foods as a means toward health–NOT a ‘diet’. The idea is if you can make healthful food delicious and easy to prepare, then people can reduce their chances of diet-related complications (such as diabetes, high cholesterol, etc.) without depriving themselves and without having to count calories and eat bland or unappealing food. And of course, all of that should make it much easier to maintain healthful eating habits throughout your life. In addition to recipes, Marco Canora’s A Good Food Day: Reboot Your Health with Food That Tastes Great includes lists of foods to keep in one’s fridge or pantry to allow for last-minute healthy dishes. After that, the chapters are divided into Breakfast, Salads, Vegetables, Beans & Lentils, Great Grains, Fish, Meat & Poultry, Snacks, and Sweets. You’ll also find a detailed list of ’10 principles for a good food day’:

  • Eating must be enjoyable
  • Cooking empowers you to eat better
  • Proper prior planning prevents piss-poor performance (I always loved that saying)
  • Get in sync with Mother Nature
  • Quality ingredients are everything
  • Eat real food
  • Be a conscious eater
  • A twinge of hunger isn’t the end of the world
  • Diversify
  • Make indulgences a guilt-free part of the program

You can easily see Michael Pollan’s influence here. There are even explanations of the difference between glycemic index and glycemic load, and how both affect our bodies.

We loved nearly every dish we made from this cookbook. There’s a roasted beet salad (with orange and pistachio) that’s surprisingly simple and delicious. Breakfasts include a handful of smoothies; also no-cook oatmeal, which is a favorite of mine. One of the great recipes from the salads chapter is “My Post-Workout Salad”: there’s enough to it that it’s easy to turn into a full-meal salad (it includes chicken, lentils, avocado, and more, and it’s very good). He also breaks that salad down into a blueprint: how much greenery to include (and a list of good choices), how much of an animal protein to include, tender bean or grain, crunchy vegetables, herbs, avocado, some types of seeds (such as sunflower or pumpkin), and so on. It provides a great amount of room for customization, which should keep it from becoming boring.

A recipe of roasted broccoli with hazelnuts and Pecorino came out better than I expected. Roasted broccoli is good, but by itself not terribly satisfying. The addition of the nuts and cheese gave it depth. There are also some fancier recipes (that still follow his clean & healthy eating mantra) such as a salmon and arugula salad with pomegranate. One of my favorite recipes that we tried was a Thai chicken coconut soup. It’s been quite a while since I last went to a Thai restaurant, but this is almost exactly what I remember, with its delicious notes of coconut and lime. Absolutely delightful. The only recipe I wasn’t entirely happy with was a coconut cacao cardamom panna cotta. The dish was pretty; the small amount of cacao powder gave it a very gentle note of chocolate; the coconut milk substituted beautifully for heavy cream; but I’d absolutely halve the amount of cardamom that went in. It overwhelmed most of those other flavors.

A Good Food Day is a great cookbook to have around if you need more diversity and variation in your healthy diet. I expect we’ll keep making recipes from it for quite some time.

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