Photo Credit: Artscroll

Title: Food You Love That Loves You Back
By Rorie Weisberg
Artscroll, 352 pages

 

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When Rorie Weisberg’s new cookbook, Food You Love That Loves You Back, arrived in the mail, I was excited. The book is hefty at over 300 pages, and beautifully styled. The photography and layout give it a clean and inviting look. It quickly became clear to me that this cookbook is a labor of love created by a woman whose life work is to help women achieve health through integrative nutrition. Rorie’s personal journey to find a way of eating that addressed her own health concerns makes her a true believer in her message – that food can be prepared by a home cook in a way that melds nutrition and flavor. In her own words, Rorie’s mission is to “empower women to nourish themselves with respect and responsibility.”

I approached this cookbook with a “healthy” dose of skepticism. For better or worse, I’ve long been in the camp of people who believe that food is either good (think Haagen Dasz) or good for you (think brussels sprouts) but rarely, if ever, both.

Rorie’s assertion that healthy food could be a feast for the palate felt like a dare to me and I flipped through the pages, eager to try.

Surprisingly (at least to me), the recipes were really good. Perhaps even more surprisingly, this “healthy” food wasn’t made up of strange, exotic ingredients. Rather, it was food I was already using but prepared more healthily. That made the cooking feel doable and accessible.

To add value, the cookbook is something of a guidebook. It includes Rorie’s philosophy on food, how to achieve fullness by using “macro-meals” and an explanation of various food types and how they affect the body. She also packs the pages with tips, tricks and menu ideas for making these food choices more sustainable.

One of the best parts of the book is the techniques she teaches, including how to roast a root vegetable and the perfect cooking time for baked grains. By passing on the lessons she learned on her journey to healthy eating, Rorie makes these recipes feel straightforward and easy, and the results are truly palate-pleasing. The “baked to perfection sweet potatoes” were actually baked to perfection. The flavor-packed Spinach Mushroom Feta Siti was delicious, thanks to her cooking tip for the perfect amount of time to bake spaghetti squash.

In deference to those with food allergies and aversions, Rorie starts from scratch with recipes for dips and dressings that serve as building blocks for healthy flavor. I’ll admit that I took some shortcuts (like using store-bought mayonnaise instead of Rory’s homemade version), but the recipes surprised me. This wasn’t food that felt intimidating, bland, or dutifully good for you. This was delicious food that I could prepare easily and still feel happy about eating.

The “Breads and Desserts” section leans heavily on Rorie’s signature brand of grain-free mixes that are available in many kosher stores and online. The “Breakfast and Beyond” section reads like the menu at a trendy café, and the “Vegetable Sides” section is packed with delicious, healthy recipes that take your same old vegetables and elevate them.

This cookbook is a testament to Rorie’s mantra of living “Full and Free.” When it comes to healthy flavorful food, Rorie is clearly a true believer. And by the time I finished working through this cookbook… I was too.

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Yael Zoldan is an author of literary essays and children's picture books. Her popular Shimmy Shambone children's series is available in bookstores and online.