I couldn’t resist. Seven months ago I was in the midst of “reading” ten cookbooks that I had checked out from my county library. Yes, I “read” cookbooks for ideas and (strange but true) even more so for pleasure. I also enjoy writing both cookbook and food reviews, especially when healthy comes into the picture, and I am always on the look-out for a “best cookbook” to add to my collection.
Out of those ten books, four of them resonated with me as being ones that others might also enjoy; my review of those four cookbooks was published 3/23/10 and was entitled: Cookbooks from the Chefs: Reviews of Four.
My number one pick in that review of four cookbooks was a spa cookbook entitled “Golden Door Cooks at Home” by Dean Rucker. My last paragraph as I wrote about this book: “The book retails for $40.00 but amazon.com has it priced for about $26.00. My resolve to not buy any more cookbooks is weakening fast.”
My update since writing that article: So much for my resolve to not buy any more cookbooks – I couldn’t resist! A copy of the spa cookbook, “Golden Door Cooks at Home” is now mine, and my beautiful volume with favorite recipes from the celebrated Golden Door spa will be visually devoured by me in the months to come. And oh, my, the recipes; what fun lies ahead for me as I prepare to delve into preparation of the soups, salads, entrees and other recipes that Chef Rucker has chosen to share with the world!
“Golden Door Cooks at Home” was published in 2009 to commemorate the Golden Door spa’s fiftieth anniversary. While most of the recipes in the book are new, a few have been on their regular menu for decades; these classics are marked with an asterisk (*) and include Broccoli Basil Soup; Golden Door Ketchup; Norberto’s Muesli; Tecate Bread; Tomato Cheese Toast and Potassium Broth (part of the midmorning juice break at the Golden Door).
This 288-page spa cookbook is more than a collection of recipes; it incorporates a compilation of basic cooking techniques and tips along with nutritional teaching into its format. Tips are interspersed throughout the book, sometimes on full pages and sometimes in sidebars to correlate with a specific recipe; they always are showcased on a soft-green colored background.
Full-page tips (usually multi-page) include: Ingredients and techniques; eight steps to mindful eating; superfoods; simple vegetable preparations; bento box; your fitness toolbox; keeping a food diary, and make meditation a part of your life.
Sidebar tips accompanying recipes are: Toasting sesame seeds; roasting garlic; toasting almonds and peeling peaches.
The contents of “Golden Door Cooks at Home” are: Introduction; from my kitchen to yours: ingredients and techniques; appetizers; salads; soups; vegetarian main dishes; seafood; poultry and lean meats; desserts; breakfast; teas, juices, and other drinks; vinaigrettes and dressings; basics; nutritional information; resources, and index.
You won’t find food substitutes used in the recipes such as imitation, nonfat or artificial ingredients, but rather there is a focus on lean proteins, whole grains, and fresh vegetables.
The recipes themselves are varied and unique, suiting many different tastes, and yet all of them are in the mainstream enough to be doable for the average cook. Most of the recipes are accompanied by stunning and colorful photos of prepared foods; the appetite-arousing photographs show artistic expression and yet have down-to-earth composition that isn’t off putting to the average cook.
Most recipes in “Golden Door Cooks at Home” are for 4 to 6 servings; full nutritional data is provided at the end of the book which keeps the pages looking much less cluttered when you page through the book.
In the introduction, Chef Rucker invites the reader to “Cook from my recipes and you will learn how to create tasty, flavorful, healthy food, and through these dishes, bring a little of the Door into your home.”
I’m hooked! This book may never find a home on my bookshelf, but instead will in full view on my kitchen counter or coffee table where I can delve into the pages on a regular basis.
If “Golden Door Cooks at Home” by Dean Rucker interests you, check at your local library to see if it is available so that you can review it for possible purchase. Bon appétit!
Rucker, Dean, with Marah Stets, Golden Door Cooks at Home, New York: Clarkson Potter, 2009.