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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Cookbooks as Giving Gifts

I know writers don't get any respect, but this is ridiculous. Some poor soul put together an intimate list of cookbooks with special meaning for special groups on the Atlanta Journal Constitution's website and then doesn't even rate a byline. What's the point of an anonymous article written in the first person?

To make up for him or her, here are some of cookbooks mentioned that seem like good tips for my audience. I know I've mentioned some of them before, but that just shows that anonymous has good sense.

Do you know someone who is a vegetarian or wants to learn more about it? Then consider "The Vegetarian Cook's Bible" (by Pat Crocker and published by Robert Rose, $22.95). The first 130 pages are devoted to the benefits of whole plant foods and how good nutrition can affect every body system — from the digestive system to the nervous system. The recipes range from herbed feta dip to apricot apple bars and will appeal to vegetarians as well as those who simply want to include more plant-based recipes in their meals.

Want a book full of beautiful color photographs and recipes that can help you protect your family from disease? Then buy the "The Great American Eat-Right Cookbook" by Jeanne Besser and Colleen Doyle (American Cancer Society, $29.95). Besser is a writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and has written four cookbooks. Doyle is the director of nutrition and physical activity for the American Cancer Society. The 140 recipes adhere to the American Cancer Society's dietary guidelines, but just because they are healthy don't think they aren't tasty. The book also offers three easy steps to make all of your meals healthier. Try the rosemary popcorn for a different twist on the classic snack.

Do you know some one with celiac disease or who is lactose intolerant?
Check out the "Complete Gluten-Free Cookbook" by Donna Washburn and Heather Butt (Robert Rose, $22.95). This book provides a comprehensive review of gluten-free and lactose-free cooking. Individuals with celiac disease need to avoid anything made with wheat, including most breads, cereals, and pastas. This book explores the use of grains less commonly used in the United States, like amaranth, buckwheat, corn, millet, quinoa, and teff (Ethiopian millet). It also contains plenty of recipes for rice, a staple for those with gluten-sensitivity.

For those who are always on the run and want to get dinner on the table in a hurry (who doesn't?), try "Quick Meal Solutions" by Sandra Nissenberg, Margaret Bogle, and Audrey Wright (John Wiley & Sons, $15.95). All of the authors are registered dietitians so you are sure to find recipes that are healthful with the added bonus of being easy to prepare. Using the 2005 Dietary Guidelines as its foundation, all of the recipes and meal plans are built around this theme.

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