A collection of healthy alternatives to traditional comfort food.
South African Taferner’s love for food and traveling began in the military, where he was given a special opportunity to work in the catering division. That led to a part-time job with a small hotel before he moved to Hanoi, where he began to truly pursue his passions. Tying his physical and emotional state of being to the foods he consumed, Taferner noticed that he simply felt “good” when he ate eggs, potatoes, stuffed peppers and tomatoes, rather than the “plastic” preserved offerings of ready-made food. This outlook fuels his desire to research nutritional values and to eat more whole foods. Though he wanted to be healthy, he was hesitant to give up his love of comfort food and so set out to create “healthier comfort-food experiences,” though these new recipes—e.g., “Avocado Stuffed with Pear Puree,” “Stuffed Peppers and Potato,” “Chicken and Mushroom Pie”—aren’t for traditional meat loaf or mac ’n’ cheese. Punctuated with attractive color photos, the recipes seem to be geared toward the more experienced cook. Confusion may arise from the book’s use both of standard measurements—cups and teaspoons, for instance—and grams; however, conversion tables are provided in the back of the book. The recipes are given a sturdy foundation through additional trivia found in “Earth Essence Food Tips” as well as various stories, which are placed interstitially between the recipes and tell of traveling adventures. Though the superimposed text over photographs can be a bit difficult to read, the book’s layout is aesthetically pleasing. Taferner includes a fair amount of traditional recipes—“Fresh Spring Roll,” “Chicken Curry,” “Pork Dumplings”—but there are a few interesting ones to shake things up. His mother’s “Pancake Soup” easily wins for most creative.
A hearty and savory collection, with a few sweet delights thrown in.