|Reviewers Comments: ||A great resource for SNAP-Ed participants who live alone or in a small family, this 8” by 11” spiral bound cookbook contains over 70 recipes with only one or two servings each. It is largely made up of recipes that have been scaled down, and recipes that use a master mix that must be prepared in advance. The master mixes include baking master mixes, seasoning mixes, a crepes master mix, and master meat mixes, including ground beef, chicken and pork. Because of the large number of recipes that use master mixes, using this cookbook would require advance menu planning. Some menu planning tips are included in the first section of the book. A participant would have to prepare the master mixes in advance and then use them to prepare small meals.
The recipes in the book may require a basic knowledge of cooking for ease of preparation. The first section of the cookbook includes an abundance of cooking information including abbreviations, measurement equivalents, food equivalents and substitutions, and definitions of methods of cooking terms, appropriate for beginner cooks. Additional information, such as can sizes, oven temperatures, and a spice chart is interspersed and may be suitable for more intermediate chefs. Recommendations on how to alter recipes for health is provided for those who would like to reduce sugar, fat, or salt in their diet.
Several pages of microwave tips are also included in the cookbook, on topics ranging from reheating leftovers to browning food, to heating different types of foods, such as baked goods, fruits and vegetables, and meats in the microwave. A microwave is required for some of the recipes. While there are some tips included using a probe to check for temperature, this section does not include or refer to a temperature chart of safe cooking temperatures (although a temperature chart is included later in the cookbook).
Following the cooking information is more specific information and recommendations for protein, carbohydrates, fiber, fats, cholesterol, vitamin A, the B vitamins, folic acid, vitamin C, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, and water. Some of this information can be quite complex and may need to be reviewed alongside an educator with a background in nutrition. Some inconsistencies with the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPyramid were noted such as references to “serving sizes” instead of “cups” and “ounces” (For example, the cookbook recommends 6 to 11 servings of carbohydrates a day, and MyPyramid recommends 6 to 8 ounce equivalents of grains, with at least ½ of all grains eaten being whole grains). Additionally, the recommendation for fat is currently between 20 to 35% of calories, not “no more than 30% of calories” as is stated in this resource. The section does not review sodium. Some food safety information and tips are incorporated at the end of this section, including a meat safe temperature guide and a guide to cold storage times.
Overall, this cookbook can be a helpful tool for an educator to use with SNAP-Ed participants. A heavy cardboard easel is built into the book so that it can stand on its on, making easy to use as a teaching tool or as a guide while one is preparing recipes. Each of the recipes includes yield and serving size information and a nutrition facts panel, which can be help reinforce label reading skills.