Turning over a new leaf
HAVEwefinally had our fill? Have the many years of multi-course degustation dinners, of full-fat, fullthrottle feasting, taken their toll on our waistlines and wellbeing? If this year’s list of bestselling cookbook titles from Dymocks is any sign, we’re all suffering a nasty case of post-indulgence indigestion.
Tworeleases from The Biggest Loser diet and exercise guru Michelle Bridges make it into the Top 10, as does David Gillespie’s Sweet Poison Quit Plan Book, a guide to living a sugar-free life. Macrobiotic queen Gwyneth Paltrow, meanwhile, reveals recipes for the food she eats when she wants to ‘‘lose weight, look good and feel more energetic’’ in It’s All Good.
Anavalanche of health-focused volumes has crossed the T&I desk in recent months, including chef Michael Moore’s Blood Sugar books, among the select few to present recipes for diabetics in a glamorous environment. There have also been gluten-free, dairyfree, wheat-free and quite possibly taste-free compilations too numerous to mention. Then there are the books to accompany the diet regimens, including the fashionable Fast Diet, which involves eating normally for five days and starving oneself for two.
Anincreasing number of chefs, however, believe vegetables are the key to a healthier future, for us and the planet. Noma’s Rene Redzepi predicts we’ll be eating far less animal protein and a lot more fruit and vegetables in coming decades. ‘‘Vegetables and plants will have a predominant place in restaurants over the next 10 years, and that will [filter down into] people’s homes,’’ he says. ‘‘Once we stop seeing things from the plant kingdom as simple garnish and instead as the main component of a meal the opportunities are huge.’’ The Japanese have been working wonders with vegetables for centuries, but the average Aussie home cook maybaulk at making a bunch of brassicas, say, the hero ingredient of a meal.
Thank goodness, then, for authors such as Yotam Ottolenghi, whoputs vegies front and centre in his cookbooks, in such a way that has a whole new generation of non-vegetarians cooking largely plantbased meals. There’s no sense of deprivation in Ottolenghi’s bold and flavourful recipes, no desire to plonk a lump of beef beside the braised artichokes. If other cookbook authors jump on the bandwagon, there’s every chance Redzepi’s predictions maypan out. Susan Kurosawa is on assignment.