Review: “Super Foods Cookbook,” Reader’s Digest

Pros: One of the recipes we tried came out well…
Cons: …the other ones didn’t.
Rating: 2 out of 5

NOTE: Review book provided by Reader’s Digest


Super Foods Cookbook: 184 Super Easy Recipes to Boost Your Health (N/A) sounds fantastic. I find most ingredients that get labeled as ‘super foods’ are delicious (fresh, vibrant vegetables and fruits), so it should be hard to go wrong.

The operative phrase here is, “should be”.

Now, one of the recipes we made came out fairly well–a lamb dish with green beans and a creamy caper sauce. We solidly enjoyed that. There was a raspberry, banana, and oat smoothie; we cut the amount of water by 1 full cup and it was still thin and watery. Then, there’s the “lightly spiced” vegetable medley. The first night it was… okay. It’s flavored largely with ground coriander and cardamom seeds. Coriander without a complementary flavor tastes… not great. Add to that little bursts of intense cardamom and it was just… yuck. The leftovers tasted even worse, and we couldn’t bring ourselves to eat it.

What’s good about this cookbook? Well it has a thorough index, a clean and easy-to-read layout, and some nice photos. Nutrition info is included, and there are educational sidebars here and there. Alternative ingredient suggestions are included.

Contents include a chapter on the benefits of super foods. It has a chart in it with conditions across the top (aging, cancer, depression, menopause, heart health, fatigue…) and super foods down the side. It gets pretty ridiculous, with nearly every food being named as benefiting nearly every condition. At that point you’re better off pointing out that a nutritious diet is good for overall health no matter what’s wrong with you and skip the huge charts. Otherwise it has a whiff of snake-oil salesmanship.

There’s a chapter of soups, starters, and snacks; vegetables and salads; fish and seafood; poultry and game; meat; pasta, legumes, and grains; as well as desserts. After the first few recipes that we tried, we didn’t have the heart to make anything else from this book.

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