December 19, 2014

The Nourished Kitchen

Last winter was long and cold, and one of the things I most looked forward to about spring was the release of the much anticipated cookbook, The Nourished Kitchen. As one of many avid followers of Jennifer McGruther's traditional foods website, I wasn't alone in my wintery anticipation. I already had a foodie web crush, but her book made me fall head over heels. Anyone who has section in their book entitled "In Defense of Lard" and a recipe for Bone Marrow Custard is a rockstar in my universe. So this was pretty much how I spent every waking moment after receiving my copy in the mail.

Like her website, Jennifer's book celebrates whole food recipes focussing on bone broths, fermented foods, grass-fed meats, a wide range of vegetable dishes, traditionally prepared grains, and healthy desserts. What I love about the Nourished Kitchen philosophy is that instead of approaching healthy eating in a restrictive way that forbids a huge amount of food groups (gluten, grains, meat, dairy, etc.), it instead embodies a wholistic approach that shows you how to prepare good wholesome mineral and vitamin-rich foods from scratch. This excerpt from the book's introduction really rings especially true:
"There's a deeply pervasive disconnect in the collective relationship with food that persists in American culture: We often view healthy eating as synonymous with restrictive eating, and we likewise view joyful eating as a guilty pleasure, something that begs for strict limits. I believe that real food allows us both the gift of nourishment, and the gift of pleasure, without unnecessary restrictions. Eating a diet of traditional foods helps us to develop a positive relationship with our food, not one born out of guilt and denial; rather, the traditional foods movement teaches us to purchase, prepare, and enjoy our food with intention."
Instead of making sweeping statements ("all meat is good") or throwing out the baby with the bathwater ("all meat is bad"), the book teaches us instead to understand the nuances and the vast difference in nutrition, environmental footprint, and flavour, between conventional beef and grass-fed beef, between conventional white flour and soaked whole grains, between refined white sugar and unrefined wholesome sweeteners.

When I thumb through a new cookbook, I often cherry-pick the recipes I want to make. With The Nourished Kitchen, I literally want to make every single recipe in the book. And I'm well on my way there. So far, my favourites are the Sherried Chicken Liver Pâté with Apple and Sage, the Stinging Nettle Soup with Cream, the Chicken Foot Broth (best chicken stock I've ever made!!), and the Baked Oatmeal with Pistachios, Figs and Honey. I'm still dying to try the Roasted Beet and Walnut Salad with Kombucha Vinaigrette, the Concord Grape Sorbet with Rosemary and Black Pepper, the Whole Mackerel Roasted on Potatoes, and so many others. Swoon.

This is a jewel of a book that is sure to become a classic, and it belongs on every food lover's bookshelf. If you don't own it yet, or if you're looking for Christmas gift for a foodie you know, GET THIS BOOK NOW! You won't regret it one bit. 

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