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 Prudhomme (Enola Prudhomme's Low-Calorie Cajun Cooking, 1991) has flooded this volume with enough processed foods to turn the Louisiana bayou into a chemical bath. Au Gratin Potatoes contain canned chicken broth, onion soup mix, and ``reduced-fat American cheese product,'' and even the low calorie count (45 per serving) of the unappetizingly named Dump Cake cannot make this concoction of packaged cake mix, canned pie filling, and canned pineapple sound tempting. Prudhomme may lower fat content and calories by using reduced-calorie mayonnaise and sugar substitutes, but she obviously has not paid much attention to the FDA's new nutritional pyramid: These traditional meals relegate almost all vegetables to side-dish status. Concessions run along the lines of making beans with turkey bacon rather than the usual pork product. There are some decent flavoring ideas, but when they are not overwhelmed by altered ingredients, they are usually overcooked. A sweet and spicy glaze of sugar, chili pepper, and balsamic vinegar has a well- balanced kick, but it covers baby carrots boiled for 20 minutes and thus reduced to baby-food consistency. Likewise, a recipe for fresh tomato sauce calls for cooking four plum tomatoes over high heat for ten minutes, resulting in a charred, pulpy mass that barely covers one serving of pasta. Although they include calorie, fat, cholesterol, and sodium counts, recipes are not very clearly written. The piquant corn salsa is fine, but if a food processor is going to be dirtied purÇeing two tomatoes, wouldn't it make sense to clearly instruct cooks to chop the other ingredients in it first? It may be low-fat, but it ain't healthy.

Pub Date: Dec. 20th, 1994
ISBN: 0-688-11894-1
Page count: 268pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1994