07 August 2009

Book Review: Raw Food, Real World

Though I have decided that a completely raw diet will never be for me, the lifestyle continues to intrigue me. I think there are a lot of positive aspects of eating raw, and since my experiment, I do try to incorporate more raw foods into my day-to-day life. Additionally, I'm more adventurous when it comes to seeking out new raw foods.

I recently read the book Raw Food, Real World, by Matthew Kenney and Sarma Melngailis. Part cookbook, part lifestyle guide, part novel, this book presents the benefits of a 100% raw lifestyle, providing recipes, tips for eating out, and lots of entertaining commentary. Written by a New York restaurateur and his partner, it tells their love story and their journey to a diet comprised completely of raw food. If you're just a little bit interested in eating raw, this book is a great read.

Matthew and Sarma present the concepts of eating raw in a non-judgmental way. They understand that not everyone has access to the gigantic farmer's markets of New York City, nor to a professional restaurant kitchen and all the bells and whistles that come with one. Their immersion into raw food serves as a sort of buffet for the rest of us - pick and choose the parts you like. They teach techniques, including how to make raw smoothies, cocktails, and desserts. They share fantastic recipes for dishes that they serve in their restaurant, Pure Food and Wine; everything from a fantastic Arugula Salad with Meyer Lemon Dressing to King Oyster Mushroom and Dried Cherry Tomato Fettucini.

Melngailis has an engaging writing style that draws the reader in - it's almost as if you're talking with a friend over coffee (or bee protein shakes!) and learning about a new friend's lifestyle. She shares her favorite kitchen appliances, the best places to get honey, olive oil, and a million other products, and is honest about the epiphany and transition period that led to their new lifestyle.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in fresh, seasonal cooking, and of course to those with a curiousity about the raw lifestyle. Those who aren't planning to go raw but who are currently vegetarian, vegan, or eating organic will still be interested in the fresh ideas and interesting ingredient pairings in this book.

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