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Raw Food/Real World

100 Recipes to Get the Glow
by Matthew Kenney, Sarma Melngailis

Raw Food/Real World



Raw Food/Real World got our attention via the back door. Not through our stomach but our vanity. It's that cover with its promise to "Get the Glow," and the attractive couple sharing wine and what looks like dessert in a candlelit tête-à-tête. They look sexy and they drink alcohol! Hmmh. We'll be darned, they must be foodies, sensualists even, not some self-righteous raw freaks. And, who doesn't want that glow? A glow, which the cover hints, can be achieved in other ways. Wine, candles, dessert... We were hooked. Target market hit.

In the "Real World," the sexy couple are authors Matthew Kenney and Sarma Melngailis, both classically trained at the French Culinary Institute, he a two-time James Beard Rising Star Chef nominee. One night, the story goes, they skipped Jean Georges in favor of a raw food joint, a decision that would lead to a complete overhaul of their approach to food and eating. Tossed were the pots and pans; out came the dehydrator, Spiroli slicer and Vita-Mix. We reap the benefits of their extensive studies and experimentations. In gorgeous color photographs, succulent shakes give way to salads that pop off the page, delicious soups (Who knew! You're allowed to gently warm them on the stove over very low heat!) entrées and desserts.

Timid, we started with the shakes. Kenney and Melngailis didn't have to convince us that on busy mornings nutritious shakes are the best way to kick-start your day and energy levels. Pineapple Star Anise Lassi, Creamy Coconut Shake, Blue Sunset, Bunny Spice… all you need is a blender. They're filling and delish. Salads are easy, so we skipped ahead to the soups. Celeriac and Green Apple Soup even allows truffles, and again all you need is a high-speed blender or the recommended Vita-Mix, which at about $400 is a good investment. Basically, it turns out you don't need a terribly expensive down payment to get started on your raw plan. And the recipes, even full-on entrées like Cauliflower Samosas or Zucchini and Green Zebra Tomato Lasagna won't kill you. It's when it comes to items like Apple Crêpes that we miss the real deal. These raw crêpes are made from coconut meat, agave nectar and flaxseed. It's all very healthy, but they won't replace our dear Suzettes.

All in all, this latest publication from the raw food front is a delicious and less bumpy road to incorporating more uncooked and meat-free items into your diet. The authors have made a noble effort in being creative, playing with textures and pleasing foodies with a great spectrum of flavors. You don't have to subscribe to their mantra that cooked food is inefficient and empty of nutrients. We can point to numerous studies proving the exact opposite, namely that certain vitamins aren't even released unless a vegetable is heated. But we do not want to argue with such charming cooks. And it's true, eat healthier foods for a few days and you do develop a healthy glow. If that fails, and you're just dying to stick a flame to something, go for the candles.

Charlie Trotter and Roxanne Klein.

by Lyndsay and Patrick Mikanowski.

Reviewed by Sylvie Greil

(Updated: 12/18/08 SB)

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