Cookbook Review: Raw Food for Everyone by Alissa Cohen

by Robyn on November 1, 2010

Picture of Alissa Cohen chopping vegetables for her cookbook Raw Food for Everyone.Raw Food for Everyone by Alissa Cohen with Leah J Dubois Photographs by Tara Donne
Published by Avery a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. New York
484 Pages, 300 Recipes

Publishers summary: Gnocchi Carbonara. Pizzas. Star Anise Crusted Papaya Steak. Sliders. Pumpkin Cheesecake. Connoisseurs of raw cuisine know how hearty and flavorful it can be; what began as an underground movement for health enthusiasts has moved to the culinary forefront. Now one of the nation’s top raw restaurateurs presents a lavish array of recipes, a primer of preparation methods, and a comprehensive ingredient guide in Raw Food for Everyone.

While other cookbooks on raw cooking often feature rudimentary recipes or are limited in scope, leading raw foods authority and teacher Alissa Cohen, owner of the Grezzo restaurants in Boston and Newburyport, offers a comprehensive book, with 300 unique recipes for meals and snacks. From nutritious smoothies and juices to you-won’t-believe- they’re-raw cheeses and ice creams to chips and crackers, this book proves that raw food is not just healthy and energizing-it’s also approachable, nourishing, and delicious. Writing for the beginner and the more seasoned raw food lover, Cohen takes raw food to the next level with the simplicity of its preparation techniques and the presentation of inventive flavors.

With detailed step-by-step instructions, charts on sprouting and soaking, and thorough information on raw ingredients, Raw Food for Everyone is the ultimate raw food resource. It is destined to become a culinary classic.

When I received this book I had just read another book that explored raw food diets as a way of life. I had heard bits and pieces about raw food diets, however, could not wrap my mind around eating food completely raw or unprocessed. Alissa Cohen does a thorough job of dispelling myths while providing necessary techniques to embrace and be successful in a raw food diet choice.

Before the first recipe appears in the book you’ve been taught by nearly 100 pages of techniques, shopping tips and essential dietary knowledge one should understand with an adoption of a raw food diet. She shares her philosophy of eating raw while enjoying foods that give a well rounded diet and leaving you well fed and satisfied. Alissa has an enviable pantry guide, with a glossary and tips on use of each item. There is also a section on required equipment for the raw kitchen.

The vegetable list is an enviable one. One would do well to plant a garden as all of the vegetables listed are not always available at a corner market. Or even, a large superstore. Alissa encourages people to frequent local growers and purchase organic if possible. However, she does note that organic certification is expensive for growers and that knowing your grower is as important as a certification.

I recommend this cookbook as we could all do with a bit of healthy living. Raw foods can be incorporated into a well balanced diet. While Alissa encourages everyone to adopt a raw food lifestyle, I cannot. It is not for everyone, however, the techniques for working with raw foods can benefit everyone. Her corn chips recipe should be an “everyone make these” recipe!

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