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Book Review: The Rodale Whole Foods Cookbook by Dara Demoelt

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The Rodale Whole Foods Cookbook was originally published by Rodale – well known for their natural-lifestyle titles – and has now been updated and revised to include 400 new recipes, bringing the recipe total to an amazing total of more than 1,000. New cooks, and those looking to add health and nutrition to their family’s menu by cooking from scratch with natural ingredients, would be hard-pressed to find a better starter tome.

Not only does it contain a wealth of healthful recipes, but it also includes vital information necessary to every cook – similar to the guidelines found in the old-school Joy of Cooking before its wealth of basic cooking detail was replaced with microwaving guidelines. 

The Rodale Whole Foods Cookbook includes guidelines for selecting produce, properties of cookware, details of major nutrient groups, recommended tools, equivalencies charts, sprouting guides, and details on a wide range of foods with information on how to prepare them.

It’s difficult to list the breadth of information provided; there is so much sandwiched into each of the major recipe sections, even a basic guide to food preservation included which covers canning, drying, and freezing can be found within its covers. An extensive index makes it easier to become familiar with the 669 pages of content this handsome hardcover contains. Photographs are limited to glossy inserts that can be found in four locations throughout the book.

It’s easy to feel leery of natural foods cookbooks – I’m always afraid that the included recipes will rely heavily upon exotic, specialty, or hard-to-find ingredients. While this is certainly true of some recipes, the majority of the natural ingredients called for can be found at most major food stores.

I wish that I’d had a cookbook of this scope by my side when I set out on my own. It’s difficult to find another that competes when comparing the valuable cooking education to be found within its pages, especially considering the sheer number of recipes you get for the cost of the book – recommended retail price is $35.00 for a well-bound hardcover, though new at Amazon for $23.00.

The Rodale Whole Foods Cookbook is an excellent gift for those setting up house for the first time, but it also provides inspiration and guidance for those who have been relying too often upon frozen, canned, or convenience meals, and would like to get back to basics.

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