Shannon Berends’s The Anti-Inflammatory Cookbook offers a collection of delicious recipes for readers struggling to follow a special diet.
A Culinary Institute of America-trained chef, Berends worked in prestigious restaurants and food technology before becoming a personal chef to a family whose son had an autoimmune disorder. She created this cookbook so that those with inflammatory or autoimmune disorders could enjoy meals with family and friends. “I wanted to write recipes that tasted so good everyone would want to eat them.”
Her cookbook does just that, covering everything from breakfast to dessert with interesting and mostly easy to-follow-recipes like Coconut Panna Cotta, Chicken Pot Pie, and Honey Dill Carrots. Almost every recipe is accompanied by a gorgeous photograph, and the recipes include storage and reheating instruction. Berends also details the equipment and some of the special ingredients needed to make her recipes.
This generally excellent book has a few minor drawbacks. The book lacks an explanation about what an anti-inflammatory diet requires. Readers may discern it excludes dairy, gluten, citrus, corn, nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, potatoes), and sugar, as these elements aren’t included in any recipes. An introduction explaining the nitty gritty of the diet would have been helpful.
Some of her recipes also could have included basic instructions for novice home cooks. For example, her Breakfast Steak Wraps recipe doesn’t offer instructions for cooking the steak, just “1 beef tenderloin, cooked to your liking, thinly sliced, warm.” Numerous recipes also refer to the “mother sauce,” but that recipe doesn’t appear until page 136—after some of the recipes that require it. Additionally, sometimes photos include ingredients not mentioned (the delicious burger recipe looks like the burger is served with a sauce, but the sauce isn’t mentioned).
Still, even with these drawbacks, this is an excellent cookbook for almost anyone following a restricted diet (and even those who aren’t). It would also be a welcome addition to many libraries, holistic health practitioners and dietitians’ offices.