Book Corner 2019.03

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Eat a Little Better by Sam Kass

I didn’t realize this was basically a cookbook when I bought it for my Kindle; I thought it was just a food philosophy book by the Obamas’ personal chef. Happily, it is a recipe book but ALSO a book about food, and food policy, and cooking for the Obamas.  It made a nice sequel to the Michelle memoir.

I loved Kass’ philosophy, summed up in the subtitle: Eat a little better. Just a little better.  Marginal improvements!  One less meat dish, one more whole grain, whatever works for you; and it will add up.

And I liked his emphasis on finding ways of cooking that work for real-life families, peppered with anecdotes of what Sasha & Malia (& Barack) liked and what they turned up their noses at. (Michelle just seemed so thrilled to have someone cook for her family, she loved everything.)  However, that particular emphasis seemed to wane as the book went on.  We started out with a philosophy of ease and simplicity and lots of great, simple ideas for cooking vegetables; and ended with soaking beans and sprouting lentils and a recipe for “Couscous with Olives, Piquillo Peppers, and Pine Nuts.”  A real crowd-pleaser for the pre-teen set, I’m sure.

Sam Kass wasn’t just the Obama cook. A chef trained in Europe, he was also President Obama’s senior advisor for nutrition policy and Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move!” executive director.  I liked hearing about his experiences trying to write policy, and his digs (har har) at the potato lobby.  I liked hearing everything he had to say.  Great read.

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