If you are looking for a raw food recipe book that will tell you every little detail you ever needed to know about enjoying yourself a satisfying raw food diet, look no further. This one is perfect! Renée Loux (I believe she has dropped her last name of Underkoffler in the years since this book was printed in 2003) delivers a compendium of information to guide you through not only a raw food diet, but the making of a seasoned raw food chef.
Some raw food recipe books go out of their way to offer recipes of dishes that will astound your senses. This can sometimes lead to a complexity of preparation that far exceeds common household expertise. Loux does an amazing job at keeping the preparation accessible to the average home cook. Though owning some specialized equipment is always ideal in the raw food lifestyle, it isn't at all necessary. She has included many simple recipes that require little more than a knife and cutting board. Though many of the entrees have the typical litany of sub-recipes and long soaking, sprouting or dehydrating times, the techniques and skills used are all very well explained.
It's refreshing to find such workable recipes in a book with this much passion and love of raw foods. You'll find great satisfaction in the Golden Butternut Soup with or without the Provençal Pesto. All of her salads sound absolutely delightful and I feel as though I should try every single one. Particularly the Horiatiki Salata (a Greek salad). I love how many recipes there are for rolls. Mostly nori rolls (and inside-out nori rolls) as well as hand rolls, spring rolls, and even cucumber rolls.
As a trained chef I realize that the key to serving impressive food is frequently in the sauces and condiments. Loux includes many salsas, chutneys, tapenades and sauces. Mastering these alone will lead you to culinary greatness.
The side dishes are great and quite simple to prepare, usually consisting of dressed up vegetables. The entree selection has a few unique dishes (Summer Manitok Torta with Pea Molé) sprinkled in amongst Loux's versions of the more classic raw food main courses (ravioli, lasagna, tacos...).
As a former baker her desserts are sure to seduce. In fact, there are 4 dessert chapters! Cakes and Frostings; Pies, Tortes, and Crusts; Cookies and Biscotti; Parfaits, Custards, and Frozen Treats. According to Woody Harrelson who wrote the foreword for this book, her pies alone could "take over the world."
Accessibility, Expense and Rawness of Ingredients
When your diet consists entirely of raw plants, you can't blame a girl for branching out into some of the less commonly known fruits and vegetables. Sure you may not be accustomed to using umeboshi plums, starfruit, or Szechuan pepper but including them in your diet will certainly enhance your pleasure. For the most part, I find the accessibility factor of this book to be quite pleasing. These recipes utilize all of the most popular veggies and fruits from any local produce department. Some of the lesser known grains, seeds and nuts will have to be searched out at health food stores of course, but everything else should be at just about everyone's fingertips.
As far as expense, you can make these dishes as pricey or as affordable as you need to. Most of these recipes consist of simple ingredients. You'll likely not recognize a few of the many types of greens she uses in the Salads chapter, but introducing yourself to them will be a boon to your health!
One unique thing about this raw food lover is that she includes some cooked foods in her recipes. She seems to be in the camp that feels that lightly steaming some potatoes is a better way to transition into raw than holding fast to the regime while sacrificing your satisfaction. Personally I really appreciate this aspect of her book.
Additional Content and Writing
The recipe section of this raw recipe book starts on page 261. This leaves you with literally hundreds of pages of raw food lifestyle education. Farming and gardening tips, obscure ingredient profiles, garnishing, cutting techniques, sprouting, culturing and juicing are all covered. She is a stickler for a fine presentation and makes numerous suggestions for doing so. There is even a chapter on Balancing and Developing Flavors. Good thing her writing is so easy to read! This is a woman truly dedicated to enriching your life, and this is a book that does just that.