Cookbook Review: ‘My New Roots’ by Sarah Britton
My New Roots is the first cookbook written by popular food blogger (www.mynewroots.org), holistic nutritionist, and whole-foods advocate Sarah Britton. This Cookbook is full of good-for-you seasonal plant-based recipes.
“what we eat impacts our health not just on a physical level but on an emotional and spiritual one as well” (page 8)
Book Title: My New Roots
Author: Sarah Britton
Publication Date: March 2015
Publisher: Penguin Random House, Canada by arrangement with Clarkson Potter/Publishers, NY
Cover: Hardcover with Embossed Title
Number of Pages: 256
List Price: $29.95CAD in Canada & $29.95USD in USA (Note: November 1 2015 prices at amazon.ca $18.77CAD and at amazon.com $20.82USD)
This is a beautifully designed hardcover book with the title embossed on the front cover. It’s a sturdy book that will stand up to the test of time, notes in the margins and a bit of kitchen spillage (I have some expertise in the latter).
There is an overall calming wholesome look and feel to this book. Modern, yet reminiscent of a simpler era.
How the book is laid out:
Instead of the usual chapters for each course, this cookbook has five seasonal chapters … spring, early summer, late summer, autumn and winter.
“I knew when I started to write this book that the seasons would determine the flow, I hope you too, will fall into the natural rhythm and enjoy connecting with the cycles of the nature all around you — and inside you as well.” (Page 12)
It also has chapters on essential techniques, stocking the pantry and an index with every ingredient covered.
Under the recipe titles, there are helpful symbols that tell whether the recipe is vegan, gluten free, requires planning ahead, or is an overnight, or long-term project.
All recipes have clear instructions that are easy to follow and most recipes come with informative nutrition notes about various ingredients.
Total Number of Recipes:
Approximately 100 recipes.
Gluten Free Recipes and other Dietary Restrictions:
My New Roots is NOT strictly gluten free but the recipes are clearly marked with symbols under each title. This book is a very good value for those who are gluten free as most of the recipes are either naturally gluten free, or use ingredients like gluten free oats, brown rice flour, etc.
Sarah does use spelt flour (which is not gluten free) in a few of her recipes. I would be tempted to substitute a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend, or maybe millet flour instead of the spelt flour.
As for other dietary restrictions … all of the recipes are vegetarian, about 95% of them are vegan and about 50% of the recipes are suitable for a paleo diet.
Availability of Ingredients:
The focus of this cookbook is on healthier plant-based foods. Most of the ingredients are available at mainstream supermarkets. However, a few recipes call for ingredients that I have never used. They include bee pollan, freekeh, lucuma powder, edible flowers and chaga mushrooms. I assume these items are available at health food stores, or in the case of edible flowers, in season, at local farmers markets.
Sarah’s recipes do not call for hard to find expensive gluten free flours, or complicated blends. Most of her recipes are naturally gluten free, or use arrowroot, buckwheat, chickpea, corn, or gluten free oats.
Although not entirely necessary, it would be easier if you had a high-speed blender for a few of the recipes.
First Few Recipes added to my ‘Must-Make-List’:
- The Life Changing Loaf of Bread with Olives and Caraway (page 40, based on the extremely popular LCLOB recipe on Sarah’s blog)
- Strawberry Chamomile No-Churn Frozen Yogurt (page 69)
- Fully Loaded Breakfast Bars (page 81)
- Sparkling Mint Melonade (page 123)
- Cleansing Grape Salsa (page 124)
- The Best Lentil Salad Ever (page 133, this recipe is also on Sarah’s My New Roots blog)
- Raw Key Lime Coconut Tarts (page 149)
- Pear Apple Blackberry Crumble (page 191)
You won’t find many classic recipes in this cookbook. Sarah is a creative, imaginative and inspirational cook whose training as a holistic nutritionist is obvious in her recipes.
“approaching food with an open mind and a curious belly” (Page 9)
Most of the recipes in this cookbook are simple and straightforward. Some, need advance planning … soaking beans and grains overnight, for instance. Sarah’s writing style and explanations give you confidence and makes you eager to try new things. I plan to try my hand at making ‘ghee’ and ‘ginger bug’ (a soda starter that’s a fermenting agent much like a sourdough starter is for bread).
“Health is the natural consequence of using whole foods, organic ingredients, and conscious cooking techniques. What you eat becomes something to celebrate, instead of something to scrutinise.” (Page 9 … in response to queries about why she doesn’t include calorie counts in her recipes)
The Index lists recipes by name and by ingredient.
Sarah, the author, is obviously a talented photographer. This cookbook is brimming with her beautiful photographs. You’ll find a picture of almost every dish.
Anyone who wants to cook nutritionally sound whole-food plant-based recipes with panache. Or someone with a sense of adventure who is willing to mix it up a bit and is not afraid to try new methods (fermentation) and flavour combinations (hello … 10-Spice Chocolate Chili on page 186 and Salt ‘N’ Pepper Chocolate Chip Cookies on page 235).
“I was a sugar addict, over fed and undernourished, never really considering what I ate.” (Page 7)
All of the recipes in this cookbook are plant-based (vegetarian). Many are vegan, but a few recipes do use dairy and honey. There are no meat based dishes here. Sarah’s recipes call on tempeh, beans, grains, nuts and seeds for protein.
My New Roots would make a great gift, and Christmas is coming! I wouldn’t hesitate to gift this book to cooks of all skill levels, especially (but not exclusively) to people who are vegetarians.
What sets this book apart?
This first cookbook by author Sarah Britton is refreshing. She is a blogger and holistic nutritionist who enthusiastically shares her love and knowledge of fresh plant-based foods.
This book will stimulate your senses and fuel your desire to get creative in the kitchen.
Disclaimer: All opinions expressed here are my own. I did receive a copy of My New Roots from Penguin Random House, Canada but was under no obligation to post a review. I did so because I felt this was a book you, my readers, would enjoy.
To see a text listing of Laureen’s gluten free recipes, click here
For dairy, egg, nut and gluten free flour substitutions, click here
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