Although Chris Smith’s book, “The Diabetic Chef’s Year-round Cookbook,” will be of special interest to diabetics, anyone who wants to make healthier food choices and feel better about what they are eating will find this book to be a worthwhile addition to their cookbook collection.
Chef Chris Smith was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1993. He states on his website: “I have taken my personal experiences of being a diabetic and merged it with my professional experience of being a chef. I am dedicated to helping those who seek a healthier lifestyle for themselves and their family.”
This cookbook was published by the American Diabetes Association.
Smith conducts workshops and teaches cooking classes with the goal of educating people on how to cook healthy meals full of flavor. He says that he is not a big fan of the word “diet” and looks at it as managing nutrition or food instead, calling healthy eating “Nutritional Management.”
Artificial foods are almost nonexistent throughout this cookbook, two exceptions being one recipe using Splenda Sugar Blend (Blueberry Crisp) and another calling for sugar-free instant chocolate pudding. A very few recipes have regular sugar as an ingredient, but the largest amount of sugar used in a recipe is ¾ cup.
Some recipes call for low-fat products such as milk, yogurt, ham, and cheese. Others incorporate fat-free ingredients such as half and half, cheese, raspberry vinaigrette, cream cheese, and whipped topping. Egg substitute is an ingredient in a few recipes, while other recipes call for regular eggs.
What you will notice immediately is that the recipes are seasonal, and fresh ingredients are used as much as possible. Smith uses fresh and dried herbs and a liberal application of spices to inject the flavor that he desires into the recipes.
He tells the reader how to stock the kitchen, and lists these as essential spices: Cayenne pepper, chili powder, cinnamon sticks, cumin (ground), curry powder, mustard, nutmeg, paprika, and whole peppercorns (black, white, and Szechwan).
His list of essential dried herbs includes: Bay leaves, dill, basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and sage.
In keeping with his theme of presenting recipes that use seasonal ingredients, Smith has grouped recipes in six chapters, with two months of the year in each chapter. The recipes for the most part use easy-to-find ingredients and range in difficulty from easy to some for more experienced cooks.
The contents of this book are: tips & tricks from The Diabetic Chef; healthy meals on a deadline; template cooking; everyday essentials: sauces, gravies, and stocks; starting things right: breakfast & lunch; January & February; March & April; May & June; July & August; September & October, and November & December.
The book measures 8″ x 10″ and has 196 pages. There are eight double-sided pages of attractive photographs but no photos by the recipes themselves. Each recipe is accompanied by numbers of persons it serves, serving size, exchanges/choices, and basic nutritional values.
The Diabetic Chef’s Year-Round Cookbook should be available in most libraries, and can also be found in bookstores or at online booksellers. You can read more about this book at amazon.com. Whether you are diabetic or not, this book is designed to put you on the road to better eating and a healthier lifestyle.
Smith, Chris, The Diabetic Chef’s Year-Round Cookbook, Alexandria, Virginia, American Diabetes Association, 2008.