Friday, April 30, 2010

Review: Sue Gregg Cookbooks

Let's play a word association game.  If I say something like "Eat Healthy" what pops into your mind?  For some it may mean giving up favorite foods like pizza, nachos, hot dogs, chips or twinkies.  For others it means grazing on tasteless things like rice cakes, tofu and bean sprouts.  Some people see dollar signs flash before their eyes at the cost of switching to organic foods and shopping at specialty stores.   I think we tend to view diets as an "all or nothing" situation, and that dooms us to failure no matter how good our intentions.

Now what if we just change one word and think of eating healthier?  This allows for baby steps, working on just one aspect of our diet at a time--starting with easier ideas first.  I think that is the philosophy behind Sue Gregg's cookbook line.     I'll use her book An Introduction to Whole Grain Baking as an example.   It would be hard for any of us to not have heard about the value of whole grains.  If you missed the news reports and the TV commercials, you've probably seen the "Made with Whole Grains" on some box or package at the grocery store. 

Now you can make some of those whole grain products in your own home--I'm mean literally put the wheat berries in your blender.  Sue's book has some wonderful blender batter recipes--cornbread, banana muffins, pancakes and waffles.  This makes wonderful breakfasts and snacks.  My Schnickelfritz  has been raised on blender batter wheat/oat pancakes.  You don't need the serious commitment of purchasing a grain mill--any sturdy blender will do (I'll admit to owning a Vitamix that works REALLY well).

When you are read to take the next step and grind your own flour you can move on to  the Yeast Breads section of the book.   Mrs. Gregg guides you step by step through the choice of ingredients and the baking process.  The book even comes with a cd-rom of color step-by-step photographs which really help me. 

I have owned Sue Gregg's other cookbooks and used them since the birth of our son seven years ago and count many of her recipes among our family favorites.  I've served her dishes as company meals as well and never had one complaint.  In fact, I'm often asked for the recipe and I keep a second set of her cookbooks (I found on ebay) so I can loan them out.   I found many of the recipes in Whole Grains can be found in the other volumes so if you own those, this book might not be necessary.  Mrs. Gregg has updated some of her titles as new nutritional information is published (for example, she no longer recommends soy products) and this is one of her newer books so if you are committed to healthier eating and baking then I reccommend this book highly.  Be sure to check out the Talking Food Pages of her website where she also covers new information.

Sue Gregg's website has plenty of information for those wishing to making healthier meals.  There are sample recipes (with pictures),  and cookbook previews so you can try before you buy.   An Introduction to Whole Grain Baking retails for $23.00.   It is also available in the basic cookbook set (along with Breakfasts, Main Dishes,  Meals in Minutes, Soups & Muffins,  Desserts, Lunches & Snacks, and a Master Index) for $130.

You can read what my crewmates thought of Sue Gregg's cookbooks by clicking here.

I received a free copy of An Introduction to Whole Grain Baking for the purposes of completing this review.  I have received no other compensation.

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