Introduction to Skinny Spices
This book had me smiling from the very first sentence, when the author Erica Levy Klein says that a typical healthy eating author “always portray herself or himself as a model of digestive-tract perfection”. I second that! So many healthy eating experts seem to live a life that even I would struggle to follow. Don’t they have any moments of weakness? No cravings for naughty things? Is being healthy and staying at your ideal weight only possible when following a low-carb, or low-fat, or Paleo, or vegetarian, or vegan, or sugar-free lifestyle?
Even though many people consider me a health nut, I believe how I eat can be emulated by most people. I believe in eating healthy food, and preparing as much food as possible in your own kitchen, but I also want what I eat to be enjoyable and delicious (as well as healthy most of the time).
The trouble is, when you say ‘healthy eating’ it often conjures up images of ‘boring’ and ‘blah’ food.
But when we think of trying to make healthy food a bit more exciting and sexy, our minds tend to go to adding something fatty or something sweet. This may make it taste nice, but it doesn’t always benefit our stomach, hips and thighs.
To be honest, I do exactly the same thing. I’m a reasonably confident cook, but I don’t tend to think of adding spices to give my dishes a bit of a bite. Or I do think about it, but I have no idea what spices to add. Which spices go with what? How do you store them, and for how long? Can I mix spices and, if so, how?
And that’s where “SKINNY SPICES: 50 Nifty Homemade Spice Blends That Can Turn Blah Healthy Eating Into Flavor-Rich Delicious Dining” comes in.
Skinny Spices: a 10 second overview
The book starts with a potted history of spices (great if you’re a research geek), as well as why the author wrote this book. She gives advice on which gadgets to buy to grind your own spices, the most popular spices and how to use them, how to blend spices and loads of example recipes.
My favourite two things about Skinny Spices:
1. The Espice Cabinet
This has a list of the top 25 spices and herbs, cross-referenced with lots of recipes which you can find in the recipe book. Skinny Spices makes full use of the eBook format, so you can simply click a hyperlink to the recipe you like the look of and get taken straight to it. Usually, I still prefer a physical book but it actually works really well to be able to flick backwards and forward through the book with the hyperlinks. I also like that the spices and herbs have a small description, so you get a feel for how and where they should be used in your cooking.
2. 50 Homemade Spice Blends
This is probably my favourite part. There are loads (well, 50!) of different blends that you can put together to really get the most out of your spices and herbs, as well as more examples of recipes. Like, for instance, the ‘delicious dill blend’ or ‘fish hater’s blend’ (what a great idea! Using spices to take the taste away of strong fish!). This gave me a real insight into how to blend different spices.
Areas for improvement for Skinny Spices
This is always a bit of a bugbear of mine, but I do really love some photographs in a recipe book. Skinny Spices doesn’t have any photographs of the recipes at all. Admittedly, this book is primarily about spices rather than recipes, but I do like to be able to have a visual of what I’m cooking at least some of the time.
Overall recommendation for Skinny Spices
This is a great accompaniment to your recipe book repertoire. It’s one of those recipe books that, once you have it on your bookshelf, you will use for a decade or more as you can keep referring to it when you want to add some spice to your meals! At $9.99, it’s definitely worth having as a reference tool for years to come.