Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia

I am a voracious reader of fiction, but I rarely read anything that I would wholeheartedly recommend.  While I realize this isn't a novel, I am so impressed by The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia by Rebecca Wood that I have to gush a bit and implore you to check it out.

Basically you look up any fruit, vegetable, grain, or herb that you are interested in and it gives you a bit of history, along with medicinal benefits, usage, types, and tips on how to buy, store, and sometimes prepare.  So cool!

  • Did you know that popcorn is a decidedly American snack?  
  • Or that you should store a pineapple upside down in your fridge for a few days before cutting?  And that it's juice can soothe a sore throat?  
  • Were you aware that pine nuts seasoned with asafetida makes a delicious snack?
  • Or that refrigerating potatoes causes some of their starches to turn into sugars?
While I haven't read the encyclopedia in its entirety yet, I promise that I have read beyond the "P"s (basil is a natural mosquito repellent!).  It's hard to resist going from one page to the next once you get started reading.

This book will not only remind you of how healthy it is to be vegan (prepared foods such as donuts and ice cream aren't included), but will also provide you with plenty of useful tips to share with others: vegan or not.  The index is another incredible tool, as you can search by terms such as "burns" and it will point you to the items that serve as natural remedies.

Because it is as interesting as it is a useful source, you will find yourself using this book not only as a food encyclopedia, but also randomly flipping through for informative entertainment.  My only complaint is that there are no photos, but I would imagine that might have caused the price to skyrocket prohibitively.  Definitely check it out; it quickly became a welcome addition to my kitchen and library.

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