Heidi Swanson | Super Natural Cooking

swanson2Swanson's approach is more global, more healthy, and more what is better for you both physically and spiritually. Knowing that we are still a thoroughly entrenched fast-food nation, Swanson guides us through the process of incorporating whole and natural ingredients into our cooking.

 

 

(Celestial Arts, $20, 224 pages) 

Heidi Swanson tortures me via e-mail. Every few days I will get a brief dispatch from her, wherein she relates some utterly amazing experience she is having, asking wouldn't I like to be part of it. Her stories often talk about how she is just flying back to her native San Francisco and how she visited this little place in Italy or that place in France. And always, always there is the food. Heidi is big on food and life. She knows how to make you feel like you just aren't living if the day doesn't start with a skinny omelet and end with a big curry noodle pot.swanson

Heidi Swanson runs the amazing 101cookbooks.com blog which features a variety of enticing recipes that have come across her path over the years (the name of the site comes from her obsession with cookbooks and the point at which she decided to use her knowledge for the greater good of cooking humanity). You can conveniently be added to her e-mail list and begin the torture for yourself. Often her brief teasers are so well written that I find myself reciting them to my fellow workers. The other day she sent one about the perfect egg salad sandwich. Egg salad?! What respectable food writer would even consider it? The answer is Heidi Swanson. And she does so with remarkable grace and care.

The next logical step was for her to put out her own cookbook, and the result is Super Natural Cooking (Celestial Arts). The book surpasses the run-of-the-mill cookbooks by offering a big slice of spirit into the mix. Swanson's approach is more global, more healthy, and more what is better for you both physically and spiritually. Knowing that we are still a thoroughly entrenched fast-food nation, Swanson guides us through the process of incorporating whole and natural ingredients into our cooking. She shows us how to build or rebuild our pantries with natural foods. Especially helpful are the chapters on grains, sweeteners, and oils—the good, the bad, and the tasty. She also helps us to understand why cooking with colors (read: fruits and vegetables) is so important. Finally she makes us aware of our super foods; you may think, "Oh God, lentils!" but Swanson serves up her advice with recipes that are both tasty and interesting.

The book can feel a bit weighty, but it is well worth the read, as Swanson is an exceptionally good writer and storyteller who tends to mix related facts and topics to make the recipes more interesting. Swanson also takes her own pictures, and they, like her writing and her food, are not your usual studio shots.

This book will get you in the kitchen, or on a plane to someplace where food is an obsession beyond what to do after work. And if you are lucky, maybe Heidi will be sitting right there next to you. Say "Hi" for me, and tell her the next time to send over some of those Peanut Butter Krispy Treats. | Jim Dunn  

About Jim Dunn 126 Articles
Jim Dunn grew up in NY in the 70s and 80s. Even though that time in music really shapes his appreciation it does not define it. Music, like his beloved history is a long intermingled path that grows, builds and steals from its past. He lives in Colorado with his lovely wife and a wild bunch of animals.

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