I currently live in Charlotte, NC and after spending 7 years as a personal chef and caterer, I am now happy to share my love of cooking with friends and family. My heart is in the kitchen, but my soul is in the stars!

A Good Food Day cookbook review

With the Overburdened Cookbook Shelf leaching out into the rest of my house, it’s readily apparent that I do not need yet another cookbook. But I can NOT help myself.  It’s a sickness hobby.  Not long ago, I stumbled upon a website where you receive free cookbooks in exchange for reviews and it was just like having an intravenous straight line to feed my addiction hobby.  The hook, line and sinker for me (as IF I needed one) was that you don’t get just any cookbook – you could choose the book that you wanted to review.  After perusing the selections, I chose A Good Food Day by Marco Canora with Tammy Walker because it appeared to focus on the concept of real food.  

Chef Canora begins the book by telling his story and justification for writing the book – a near health disaster forced a change in his diet.   As a former contestant on Food Network’s Iron Chef and head chef and owner of Hearth, located in New York, he was over 40 years old, pre-diabetic, 30 pounds overweight, had high cholesterol, and suffered from gout.  It’s a story that unfortunately a lot of people are familiar with – not thinking about the correlation of diet and health until it’s (almost) too late.  Canora used his kitchen knowledge, creativity and sense of adventure to create this book full of 125 recipes that focus on whole and real foods to help motivate and prove that eating healthy does not mean deprivation or bland, pathetic looking food.  This is not a low carb, no meat, low fat, calorie-counting cookbook or a book about being proud for eating like you’re “supposed to.”  It is about eating local and seasonal, getting over the “fat phobia” instilled in us thanks to mass marketing, and eating good food for better health. 

At first glance, the recipes sounded indulgent and worthy of only being prepared for a fancy party or special occasion.  But why should the “good stuff” be reserved for special occasions?  Why not indulge ourselves for the sake of good health?  I liked the fact that a recommended list of pantry and fridge staples was included and I was pleased to realize that, thanks to my diligence over the past year, my pantry already had alot of the items.  I also liked the fact that some of the same ingredients were used in multiple recipes (without being repetitive of what you were eating) so as to maximize your food purchases.  

After just returning from vacation in the California wine country, I was spoiled from 8 days of indulgent food and wine and decided to cook my way through A Good Food Day to continue the streak.  I had a few apples purchased prior to my trip languishing on my counter, so the Apple Walnut Spice Muffins were the first order of business.  I could not find oat flour in my grocery store so I substituted whole wheat flour and had no issues.  They came out of the oven with a beautiful dark, rustic look and a good crown.  They were very moist and chock-full of texture thanks to the addition of diced apples along with grated ones.  These beauties are in my office freezer and ready to be pulled out for a quick, filling breakfast.  

Salmon in Parchment with Olives, Fennel and Lemon will make you feel like a king when you sit down to dinner.  This elegant-looking recipe took less than 30 minutes from start to on-the-table-ready-to-eat and I only dirtied one knife and a cutting board.  My kind of meal for sure!  I threw in a few capers and then plan to use the remaining salmon next week for the Salmon and Arugula Salad with Pomegranate.

Fennel also did double-duty in the Spinach Salad with Olives, Roasted Fennel and Grapefruit.  You may think you can’t eat just a salad for dinner and be satisfied, but I paired this with a crusty loaf of rosemary bread dipped in olive oil (a souvenir from my trip) and didn’t have so much as a grumble from my stomach for the rest of the evening.  It was very hearty and I even enjoyed the leftovers for lunch the next day.  I also used grapefruit for breakfast in the Ode to Orange Julius Shake, but due to my own personal taste preferences and less-than-stellar food processor, I didn’t enjoy it so much.  I would, however, serve it to guests for a brunch. 

And to reiterate the fact that eating good doesn’t mean deprivation, there is a section for sweets and for snacks and I just had to try the Hazelnut Brownies.  I used almond meal in place of the hazelnut meal (per a suggested substitution from Chef's notes) because I already had that in my pantry but again had to use whole wheat flour in place of the oat flour.  They baked up beautifully with nice crispy edges (my favorite part of a brownie) and had a perfectly balanced texture between fudgy and cake-like.  Normally I piggishly eat half a pan of just-out-of-the-oven brownies in one sitting and still don’t feel like I’ve gotten my chocolate fix.  With these brownies, I only ate 2 small squares.  Not because they weren’t good – quite the contrary.  It was because they were so chocolatey rich and delicious and satisfying.  

I have numerous other recipes from A Good Food Day on my list to prepare in the coming weeks but I knew I didn’t need to hold off writing my review until I had completed them all.  Chef Marco Canora has created a cookbook that exemplifies treating food as fun instead of just fuel for the body.  If you are just starting your real food journey and are used to having primarily processed foods in your diet, it’s possible that you may be leery of the recipes in this book based on names and ingredients, but don’t be intimidated.  There’s no weird tofu/soy protein/tempeh to be had here – just healthy real foods.  For my review, I give this book 4-1/2 out of 5 stars.  I deduct a half star because Chef Canora does not mince words and includes some profanity while telling his story.  I personally am not offended by the language, but based on that alone, I wouldn’t recommend this book to the likes of my mother or grandmother or any of my more conservative friends.   

I received this book free to review from Blogging for Books. The opinions expressed in this review are my true thoughts and feeling regarding this book. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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