Eleven million readers! So claims Cooking Light magazine on its website. Established by Southern Progress Corp, Birmingham, AL, in 1987, the magazine's aim is to scale back the fat in not just fried chicken--( NB--fried chicken empire KFC apparently is now offering grilled hens)--but in a wide range of traditional as well as global recipe favorites. Its approach is readable, practical, and utterly specific. And younger cooks in my family have praised the magazine's suggestions over the years.
Yesterday the company launched Cooking Light Complete Cookbook--A Fresh New Way to Cook, published by Oxmoor House, $34.95, part of the Southern Progress group. Again, the practicality of the approach stands out. The 5-ring binder book containing 1200 recipes allows for easy removal of pages. Its surface is washable, for messy cooks like me, and the book comes with a DVD labeled "Bonus--Cooking Light Dinner Tonight Cookbook" featuring 100 recipes and multiple how to's.
( Yes, I have printed up recipes from the Internets but I have never allowed my laptop anywhere near my cooking arena, lord no. ) Calories, fats, carbs, etc., are listed at the end of each offering.
The layout begins with a section on In Season, all well and good. Then it gives a primer on what Healthy Eating is about, according to the authors, who must be congratulated on a thoroughly vetted, complicated project, mind you. Next up are Entertaining and Appetizers & Beverages, thereby making me feel I had stumbled into a 1950's tome from Betty Crocker. Wha? Maybe the 21st century has reverted to home entertaining on a big scale while I was blogging--maybe gas prices are thrusting us back on cocktail hour with the neighbors. Maybe?
But having to flip through a major cookbook in search of main courses?? See-- after doing the Wasabi Bloody Marys--OY!-- and Mini Black Bean Cakes--yum, we are really salivating for dinner, and yet the cookbook offers us mega pages of BAKED GOODS next--breads, and cakes, and cookies and, and...
OK, I am possibly making too much of a fuss, but the fruit and veggie sidedishes are smack dab at the end next to substitutions and what a cup is and whatnot. The fish section neglects to inform the reader about the health benefits/sustainable issues of fish, but I suppose there's no room, sadly. And, alarmingly, an entire section of luscious looking fare is labeled Meatless Main Dishes. Please! This is so..........Betty Crocker? Mushroom Tamales, Tomato Basil Tart, Corn Fritatta, yes. I think 21st c. Americans can handle Vegetarian Main Dishes, I really do.
I realize this is not intended to be the kind of cookbook one gets into bed with, red wine and oozing cheese on the night stand, for a sensual romp through phantasmagoric foodland. Sitting bolt upright at my desk, however, I utterly fell for the recipe for Swedish Limpa Soda Bread--it's seasoned with anise and orange rind. Excellent.
Congratulations, Cooking Light, on a major opus many will find perfect--the superlative recipe for Grilled Fries ( white and sweet) on p. 381 has been duly noted.