Organic chef Watson extols the virtues of living healthfully by combining natural ingredients and thrifty meal planning.
“Eating green doesn’t have to mean eating up all your money,” writes the author. Watson and husband Bruce (both “flexitarians” who eat meat socially) took part in a fascinating experiment during which spending $1 per meal for an entire summer forced them to radically rework weekly menus, intricately budget food purchases and cook from scratch. The first half of the book shares the fruits of that trial period: a “scrimp or splurge” chart listing money-saving alternatives for common kitchen staples, indispensable tips on shopping smarter (watch for sales to get national brands at store-brand prices, scan the Hispanic aisle for equivalents), and the benefits of fresh-freezing, farmers’ markets buying in bulk and composting. Some suggestions are a stretch, like using food scales and buying smaller plates to reduce overeating. Watson’s 7-day, 20-minute cooking plans fall right in step with her smart planning, cooking and shopping strategies. The author organizes menus organized by season: Southern Summer Pesto on high-protein pasta and green beans with Blueberry Pie yields to Harvest Lasagna and Baked Pears with Cinnamon Yogurt Sauce in autumn. The second half of the book, which is disappointingly devoid of photographs, features breakfast offerings like low-salt Better Blueberry Pancakes, Magic Quiche with Asparagus and homemade “Whisk” breads and tortillas. Dinner recipes are curiously sparse, but those seeking a more healthful approach to cooking will appreciate Watson’s family, community and planet-friendly organic lifestyle.
A unique addition to the genre, this sustainable take on everyday meal planning is both practical and contemporary.