Saturday, June 30, 2012

Kitchen Reader: Smart Chefs Stay Slim

This month's Kitchen Reader selection, chosen by Aileen of 300 Threads, was Smart Chefs Stay Slim: Lessons in Eating and Living From America's Best Chefs by Allison Adato.

As someone whose favorite pastimes include cooking (and eating!) and obsessing over the scale - in equal albeit alternating measure - I was beyond excited to peer into the lives of nearly 40 renowned masters of the kitchen to see how they managed to master their waistlines as well.

Alas, I think I've ruined myself with too many years of dieting: a good amount of the advice offered up in this book has already been served up elsewhere.

Not that Smart Chefs Stay Slim isn't chock full of great advice, there just isn't much new here.  We, the diet-consuming public, already know that we ought to start our day by eating breakfast (Chapter 4), "work out to work off" what we eat (Lesson 68), that when eating out, we should "employ the takeaway" (Lesson 53), and that big flavors used in moderation don't have to equal an unhealthy meal - even when it comes to bacon (Lesson 33).

There are some nuggets I can see myself employing.  For example, like Michelle Bernstein, I tend to sneak a snack while I'm making dinner (food is readily accessible and I'm usually pretty hungry by then).  Michelle suggests keeping raw vegetables on hand both to taste-test sauces and to nosh on while dinner is on the stove: "switching to some raw vegetables from bread or cheese was easy, and doing so means I've had something nutritious (but not highly caloric) even before the meal."

I also appreciated Lesson 48: Smart chefs don't over-romanticize local and seasonal produce.  The point of this section wasn't that local and seasonal fruits and vegetables aren't wonderful, but they can become pretty limiting and monotonous (and nothing leads to diet "cheats" like boredom!).

If you have the good fortune to have made it through life without overconsuming diet advice, you will probably garner a great deal from this book.  However, if you've already taste tested a wide range of dieting and healthy eating advice, Smart Chefs Stay Slim is a lot like leftovers.

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1 comment:

  1. Yes, I thought some of the advice here was not earth-shattering. But I enjoyed the style of the book and I need reminders to eat tasty, healthy food. I felt my motivation was strengthened after hearing about how chefs make delicious and healthy meals a priority. Some of the recipes sounded great, too!