The best parts of Anni Daulter’s new book Organically Raised, Conscious Cooking for Babies and Toddlers are the imaginative recipes made with organic, pesticide and insecticide free ingredients. For anyone who felt challenged to come up with new and inventive ways to feed their children delicious and different dishes, this book is a great find. I also thoroughly enjoyed the bright and vibrant photographs throughout the book. Photographer Gina Sabatella captured wonderful imagery of children of all ethnic persuasions and races in gorgeous natural earth-friendly settings as well as scrumptious foods and ingredients. Author Anni, who is a mom and professional cook, was able to get the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Gwen Stefani and Debi Mazar to endorse her book which is part recipe book, part resource book and part autobiography of her journey from new mom to owner of a baby food company – Bohemian Baby Fresh Organic Food. Anni shares her personal perspectives as well as the favorite recipes of her own children.
The book would’ve been best be written and presented just as a recipe book but it does also attempt to be an instructions manual and reference guide about organic foods. It discusses the health aspect of foods and cooking but not that well. Although her discussion about the nutritional value and benefits of organic foods are done very well, at times, the language is too casual and colloquial and the references are over-simplistic and lack adequate support, making the book hard to rely on as a true reference tool. I was also put off by the overzealous overuse of exclamation points. Perhaps it is the former journalist and editor in me that believes you can relay excitement about your topic through the language alone. Also, the book was infused with mantras and the author spoke about cooking and food as though the process of preparing a meal was a religious experience in of itself. Obviously, she takes a holistic approach to cooking. I am fine with that, personally, however, it may be a little too much for the average person who may not necessarily follow Buddhist teachings. It could be overkill. They are harmless enough to ignore though if you do not prescribe to mantras. However, to that effect the language thus comes off a bit on the preachy side to me which can be a distraction.
I was happy to see Anni acknowledge that organic eating can be very very expensive (compared to eating conventional and processed foods) and that she includes the ingredients and addresses different ways to get organic foods for less.
What I also liked are the sidebars “Mama Wisdom” and “Papa Wisdom” from other real parents who shared their real life experiences of cooking and eating with their families.
Overall though, this book is a good bet for the recipes and great imagery— Exclamation points aside!!!!!
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Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of this book (retail: $21.99 US) to review.