Book Review: Mindful Kitchen – Vegetarian Cooking to Relate to Nature by Heather Thomas
Welcome to my review of Mindful Kitchen – Vegetarian Cooking to Relate to Nature by Heather Thomas!
Author: Heather Thomas
Genre: Cookbook, Vegetarian Cookbook, Mindfulness
Publisher: Leaping Hare Press
Publication Date: October 1st, 2019
How I got the book: free ARC via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review – thank you
My Book Review:
I was very skeptical at first, when I picked up Mindful Kitchen, because of the fact that it was vegetarian. Not that I have anything against vegetarian cooking, actually I raised two kids who are by choice vegetarian (my son) and vegan (my daughter).
What concerned me was, that I thought this book may be preachy when it comes to a plant-based and vegetarian lifestyle, which would be a turn-off for many cookbook readers that could benefit from the idea of combining mindfulness and food.
However, I was pleasantly surprised to find instead an insightful book, that not only provided amazing recipes but also showcased ways to connect to the food in a much more meaningful way, from the preparation to the consuming of the meals.
5 Points Mindful Kitchen Makes That I Really Love:
- it makes us aware of the thoughts we think about our food.
In the section “Eating For Comfort”, Heather Thomas asks us to think about the memories that we associate with comfort food, and what feelings are, that we associate with it. Often our relationship with our meals is not only based on emotional reactions and memories, but also of the unconscious kind. The awareness that this brings is not to be overstated – it is often our loaded relationship with food that gets us to react unhealthily with it.
- finding a new way to look at repurposing leftovers.
No, she does not focus on the obvious reason to utilize leftovers, as it relates to having waste, but she places the focus on the creativity that is involved in the use of leftovers and the freedom of not having to use a recipe to make a wholesome meal. What a beautiful way to look at making the most of what we already have!
- the hopefulness in the action of preserving, as we focus on the present moment of creating a food item, such as the savory tomato jam featured in this book, but also an expectation of future deliciousness
I grew up with two sets of Grandparents who were masters of canning, preparing jams, and preserving that which they harvested from their gardens. That entire time, assisting them both, I never had this beautiful mindful point of view, as featured in this book. It makes me want to use that which I have learned as a child again. Very inspiring.
- looking at food ingredients as creative partners beyond the recipe.
The author points as an example to the relationship between peanuts and oats – peanuts leaving access of nitrogen during harvest, which is exactly what oats thrive on. This balance in nature is evident everywhere you look if you are willing to dig deeper – if you are a gardener you may know which plants are beneficial to grow close to each other for mutual support – and it is something beautiful to contemplate during cooking and eating.
- it questions us to look at why we categorize certain foods as specifically tied to a particular part of the day.
Why do we look at breakfast foods as breakfast foods? What do you consider breakfast food? These questions challenge our way of how we use food and take us from being on autopilot into even more awareness.
There are a lot more mindful points that the author is making in this peaceful, creative and inspiring book. I hope that not only vegetarians but those who want to eat more thoughtfully will pick up this book as well. I am somewhat worried that this cookbook may not get the attention that it truly deserves because I am sure that I am not the only one who will approach it with a preconceived judgment.
Visually, I really enjoyed the soft-colored pages, and a large amount of warm, and friendly images, which make me hungry, and ready for more.
The recipes are creative and beautiful – some are old favorites, others provide a unique twist to a standard fair in delightfully creative ways. My personal favorites at this point are the “Vegetarian Smorrebrod” and the “Leak and Hazelnut Risotto”.
While the Author has a popular blog called MindfulKitchen.org, but this is her first book. I hope it will not be the last.
5 out of 5 Stars
An environmental foodie on a holistic path, Heather Thomas is mindfully committed to creating positive change, nurturing nature connection, and transforming the way we eat.
Part practical, part meditative, The Mindful Kitchen infuses every day with simple nature-related rituals to reinforce thoughts as positive actions, creating focus, awareness and translating intent into a lifestyle. Bite-size philosophical notes, meaningful questions, joyful rituals, and an abundant feast of vegetarian recipes are mindfully stirred together in this new-wave cookbook. Offering 100 seasonal recipes, this beautifully illustrated culinary go-to encourages you to make mindful choices through how and what you eat. Add empowering flavors for wellbeing — inspiration, curiosity, and awareness — and this is destined to be a must-have in every kitchen library.
With fresh takes on old favorites and new dishes to tickle the taste buds, there’s a recipe for every season. The recipes include a mix of fresh takes on family classics and completely fresh ideas, including Leek and Hazelnut Risotto, Spiced Pumpkin and Coconut Soup, Preserved Pizza, Zero Waste Veggie Broth, Rhubarb, and Lentil Curry, Oatmeal Honey Bread, and Apple Cake Lasagne.