Enlighten Yourself With Enlitened Kosher Cooking
By: Ita Yankovich
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
According to the Centers for Disease Control, incidence of diabetes has jumped nearly 50 percent in the past 10 years, and the numbers are expected to grow. According to Nechama Cohen, author of Enlitened Kosher Cooking, eating healthily is crucial if we are to improve our lifestyle and our health.
Enlitened Kosher Cooking is innovative as far as cookbooks go since the author is not only an expert cook, but is also diabetic and the founder and CEO of The Jewish Diabetes Association. She designed her book to feature recipes that are "sugar free, good carb, and healthy fat free." The book is divided into sections, including soups; salads; vegetable side dishes; dairy; fish; meat; poultry; baking, pies and deserts; snacks and beverages; and Passover.
Cohen was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes after she was married with kids. "Like most families, we already had our eating and cooking habits. Now, I was faced with a new set of rules," explains Cohen. She originally intended to write a diabetic cookbook but quickly discovered that the diabetes epidemic is actually an outgrowth of a deeper and more serious medical and social issue - obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle. This is one of the few cookbooks published that actually has endorsements from medical institutions and professionals: North Shore Long Island Jewish Health Systems, Sansum Diabetes Research Institute and medical writer and consultant specializing in diabetes, David Mendosa.
Cohen begins her cookbook with an encyclopedic reference guide to healthy cooking that readers will surely refer to numerous times. The appendix teaches how to calculate carbs and metric conversions. It also supplies cooks with nifty sugar and fat substitutions, food equivalents and smart choices for Shabbos and other festivals. Cohen explores everything from trans fats, to preventing deficiencies, to food preparation according to Torah law.
Enlitened Kosher Cooking presents 250 recipes in glossy enlarged photos that show the food artistically displayed. The vibrant colors in these photographs coupled with the attention to detail are amazing. You can actually see the shimmer of the sauces and the drizzle of the oils in the food. As cliché as this sounds, you are almost tempted to bring your nose to the print and inhale for a deeper investigation.
I have tried and tasted dishes produced from heath-conscious cookbooks, and as much as the authors swear it tastes "just as good" and "no one will tell the difference" in most cases I can and do. In Enlitened Kosher Cooking, one is not forced to substitute ingredients with those that compromise the taste - rather you are encouraged and taught to use healthy, but tasty alternatives and are offered interesting options to unhealthy choices. Surprisingly, Cohen did not eliminate recipes that are viewed as artery killers. She includes a wonderfully innovative recipe for galerette or - as many Russians refer to it - p'tcha, sloppy joes, and vanilla orange cheesecake. She has a vegetable variation to stuffed cabbage and highly recommended shoulder roasts.
This cookbook is not only good for the heart but also good for the eyes. The presentation of these recipes resembles artwork
It is worth purchasing the cookbook just for the Passover recipes alone, which are new, refreshing and optimal for elegant dining with the extended family. You will not see your typical potatoes or matzo ball recipe here. The Passover section displays an impressive egg drop noodle soup and a light as air sponge cake that will make you not miss bread or dash to the nearest pizzeria on motzaei chag.
The book contains recipes that anyone can follow and utilizes ingredients that are common in most groceries. Cohen also has special recipes for holidays and Shabbat. All the recipes are either low or reduced fat and nutritional and diabetic information is provided. The author cautiously and humbly warns readers to check with their health-care professionals before making changes in their eating regimen based on this book, as if any physician would disagree with Cohen's health conscious advice and recipes.