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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Eat Fresh Food, by Rozanne Gold and her All-Star Team. Bloomsbury, Penguin. 2009. $22.50 ages 12 and up

"My brigade of young chefs produced food that truly is beautiful. Nature provides us with a rainbow of colors, and all good chefs know that we feast with our eyes first before we pop any morsel into our mouths. Our job is to simply maximize the inherent qualities of what grows every season."

Wow! An absolutely glorious book for teens interested in food and cooking. Nothing here is run-of-the-mill and could never be described as boring! It's about food we would all like to eat, from breakfast to dinner and dessert, too. Everything is made with fresh foods, and the photographs sparkle with the clean, delicious wonder of it all.'s good for you!!!

The five teens tested every recipe; their spirit and enthusiasm for the project is evident in each colorful photograph. They buy the fresh ingredients, often at farmers' markets. It's fun, healthy and looks absolutely scrumptious (and I just finished supper).

To create this book with her team of teens, Rozanne Gold followed the mantra of Marion Nestle who says: “I’ve long argued that the best way to get people to eat more healthfully is to teach kids to cook.” What a perfect place to begin.

Teenagers don't like people telling them what to do...and that works for eating, too. They have their own ideas about food, fun and like to have a say. So, instead of opting for all the greasy and not-so-good-for-you fast food, why not teach them to cook and let them make their own choices?

Healthy eating is the key to future health and the earlier we learn that the better our future is going to be. Some of the kids here have taken their cause beyond their own kitchens and inspired other teens to try cooking, too. They are surprised at how good food tastes when it isn't smothered in grease and sugar. Imagine the powerful statements that they can make to others!

The book is not meant to be a diatribe against all the things that kids have come to love; rather, the author wants them to discover that focusing on fresh food will give them more energy and make them feel better. Soon, they will forgo some old favorites for new recipes. Vegetables for supper, fruit in the fridge and on the table, and available ingredients for fresh muffins and breads. No soda in the fridge, but always a choice between water, milk and not fruit juices. They will choose from what is to be had. Eating the right foods (and not too much) means you don't have to think so much about calories and, there's a happy thought!

There are so many recipes to try here. I know that this is another of those books that will find its own place on my cookbook shelf, and I will be testing them on friends. Oh, and menu suggestions are included at the back of the, that makes it really simple to find and create a great dinner.

We all would live better sticking to Michael Pollan's adage: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." These articulate and capable teens add: "MAKE IT FRESH!"

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