Author: Angela Flack
Edible Foods RRP $49.95
Review: Monique Mulligan
I met Angela at the Perth Cruelty-Free Fair in Fremantle and ended up with two copies of her book – one I bought as a gift and the other Angela kindly sent me to review. Angela describes herself as “passionate about local, sustainable farming, and ecological nutrition”. She argues that a “plant-based, wholefood diet can bring with it healthy weight, reduced rates of acne, higher IQ, lots of antioxidants and lower rates of heart disease, breast and prostate cancer” and backs it up with references. Her website includes an eloquent opinion piece on why a food revolution is needed – read the full piece here.
The advent of industrialization brought with it cheap, convenience food and drink, which would keep well to travel distance for centralized distribution, prove addictive to the people who consumed it, and provide the means to mobilize the women of communities out of the kitchen and into the workplace—doubling the labour available to spin the wheels of the capitalist machine. (Angela Flack, Revolution: An Edible Perspective)
So, on to Edible, the cookbook that is full of wholefood recipes that are plant-based, dairy-free, gluten-free, and naturally sweetened. Take a look at the lay-out. It’s user-friendly with coloured tabs designating different meal types such as breakfast, sauces, desserts, mains and so forth and many of the recipes are supported by photos giving cooks an idea of the expected end result – helpful when you are new to some of the ingredients.
The 436-book features over 200 recipes, which include information about the ingredients, health benefits and more general nutritional issues. The recipes are suited to vegetarians, vegans and those who are looking to lose weight and reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes. The recipes are also designed to eliminate allergenic foods and minimise foods which may aggravate people with common intolerances or IBS. There are plenty of desserts as well – all gluten, dairy and cane sugar-free.
What stands out is the effort Flack has put into providing the information that backs up the recipes. Her writing is articulate and comprehensive and should appeal to those looking for a more scientific basis for making and maintaining dietary changes.
The recipes are, for the most part, explained well and should not be difficult for most homes to tackle. As part of the review process, I made the Baby Spinach Salad (a variation of the popular pine nut, pumpkin and feta salad, minus the feta and adding quinoa). It’s a tasty salad, but I amended it slightly to include a light dressing.
Later I made strawberry “ice cream” (but added apricot puree from my own harvest). This recipe says 1 tin of coconut cream but doesn’t specify the size. I used half a 400g tin which was spot on. The verdict: I enjoyed it – it was like a yogurt, but the kids found it too tart (they wanted the sugar hit of real ice-cream). More for me.
The other recipe I’ve tried so far is Bliss Balls, which are chewy, tasty and healthy. Great for a snack at work when the mid-morning or mid-afternoon munchies hit.
A note: some of the recipes aren’t specific in terms of amounts, which might confuse less-experienced cooks. The preface explains this – Flack wants people to make it their own, to experiment with flavours until you get it just right. It’s exactly how many of our grandparents cooked, and while I love the idea, I’m not sure everyone will.
There are a number of other recipes I’m keen to try, including:
- Pad Thai using (tofu instead of meat)
- Crispy Tofu (I’ll try this in salads)
- On-the-go Fried Tofu (a stir-fry)
If you’re after a comprehensive cookbook to support a plant and whole food diet, do yourself a favour and check out Edible. It will be a valuable addition to your cookbook shelf.