Pete Mulvihill of Green Apple Recommends

Don't forget: this book is available at 20% off for tablehopper readers for two weeks following this mention at Green Apple Books—simply use the code "tablehopper" at checkout (either at the store or online) for your discount.

I’m no health nut: just ask the counter help at Schubert’s Bakery across the street from Green Apple—they can attest to my pastry intake. But 18 months ago, my kids started eating solid food, and in trying to instill in them healthy eating habits and preferences, I took a hard look at my own diet. Coupled with reading books like Omnivore’s Dilemma, Fast Food Nation, and What to Eat, this process led me to a (slightly) healthier diet. But while my kids will eat plain quinoa (I’m half-proud and half-embarrassed that they could say “quinoa” and “couscous” before they could pronounce the dog’s name), it doesn’t do it for me.

Luckily for me, I own a bookstore with a great cookbook section, and I found a new book of healthier recipes—it’s encouraging, creative, and healthy without being radical.

It’s The Essential Best Foods Cookbook by Dana Jacobi. The first section of the book lays out some “best foods,” most of which are familiar to those with at least a basic knowledge of nutrition: blueberries, whole grains, avocados, kale, etc. More helpful than the nutritional information, though, are the 225 recipes that don’t go too far in healthifyin’ your meal. This is no raw food rant or attempt to drop butter or bacon from your diet.

The recipe that caught my eye (and greatly pleased my wife last night) was the “Tuscan Minestrone with Butternut Squash and Farro.” And there’s “Pomegranate Tabbouleh.” Need I say more? Most recipes are quick and easy—weekday meals—and none require exotic ingredients. A few recipes look unpromising (too much like what I tried cooking in college: stir-fries, “chili” spaghetti, etc.), but overall this is an inspiring book for those looking to healthy up their meals a little without going off the deep end and re-inventing their day-to-day diet.

Again, I’m no health nut—I’m happiest with a Zuni burger, eating dessert after lunch (or breakfast), and I have a weakness for fluffy pancakes. But this new book may just help sneak some kale into your frittata, if you know what I mean.

Thanks for reading.