Glorious Meals Pure and Simple
by Lévana Kirschenbaum
What exactly are Whole Foods? According to the author, Lévana Kirschenbaum:
"Whole foods are foods to which nothing has been removed, whose components have not been broken down and recombined to form a whole new "food-like substance"... foods that are unprocessed or processed to a strict necessary minimum."
All of the recipes and ingredients featured in the cookbook are based on that premise. The book embraces a lifestyle, a way of cooking, that encourages healthful eating habits. Lévana has always been a culinary pioneer and for years, through her recipes and cooking classes, has espoused the benefits of healthful cooking .
The cookbook contains over 250 easy and, mostly gluten–free, recipes. There are cooking tips and substitution suggestions throughout the book. The recipes are designated as GF (gluten–free), GFA (gluten–free adaptable) or P (Passover). It is well organized and contains three recipe indexes: General, Gluten–Free and Passover. This feature is not often found in cookbooks and is a definite plus.
A must–read is the first chapter by Lévana. She explains all of the health benefits of eating made–from–scratch foods, avoiding processed foods, and the added benefits of embracing the lifestyle of eating whole, unprocessed foods. We understood so much more after reading it.
Our favorite recipe chapter is The Pantry: Edible Gifts to Yourself and Beyond. An array of dressings, vinegars, condiments, sauces, marinades, liqueurs and more. Lévana believes that "a pantry stocked with your own artisanal condiments, sauces, dressings, etc. will allow you to dress up simple foods at mealtime, minimizing preparation time when you need it the most." We agree!
The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen cookbook was published June, 2011. Lévana worked on it for three years. While the contents express exactly what she wanted to convey, Lévana was not happy with the look and format of the finished product. So she devoted another six months "to whip it to its present gorgeous shape." A new edition of the book will be available March, 2012. We saw the galley proofs and the new edition is fabulous! The contents are the same but the look is totally different. We congratulate Lévana on her determination to publish her cookbook in a format that benefits and highlights the content.
We asked Lévana if the recipes were created specifically for the new cookbook or ones that she had developed over the years.
"Both. I have always had eyes only for natural foods, and all my cooking demos (I have been teaching for about thirty years) have been rigorously following that crucial guideline, which was really no hardship for me. After so many years developing all these natural simple healthy dishes, I thought the book was an idea whose time had come."
The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen is available on Amazon.com.
About Lévana Kirschenbaum
She was the co-owner of Manhattan's Levana Restaurant on the Upper West Side, and a pioneer in Kosher upscale dining. She has twenty–five years of experience as a chef, caterer, and teacher, and has authored several cookbooks including Levana Cooks Dairy-Free! and Levana's Table : Kosher Cooking for Everyone. Visit her website, LevanaCooks.com, for information on her cooking demos and cookbooks,
January 11, 2012