Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen: Easy, Delectable Living Foods Recipes by Ani Phyo
I can easily see why Ani has escalated to raw food fame over the past few years. This is actually the second raw food cookbook I have trialed (as a non-raw foodist). The first was the Raw 50, and I unfortunately found it uninspiring and too complex. However, Ani has recaptured my curiosity about the raw food diet.
Since I have yet to dive into raw foodism, beyond salads and smoothies, I don’t yet have the helpful equipment like a food dehydrator and a spiralizer. Ani recognizes that though many of us may be interested in dipping our toes in the raw food diet, we don’t want to rush out and buy a car load of kitchen equipment just to give it a trial run. There were a surprising amount of recipes I could make with just a knife and my blender, though a food processor would be helpful. For those like me who are small appliance impaired, each recipe actually has little, easy-to-notice pictures next to them that let you know what equipment will be needed, whether it is simply your hands, a knife, a blender, a dehydrator, or one of those spiralizer do-dads that I still have never seen. I thought this was a very cool feature.
The recipes are also surprisingly unintimidating. For the most part, they have short ingredient lists with brief instructions, but the results are flavorful, especially if you use good quality and in-season ingredients. Ani is another chef who emphasizes that the quality of the ingredients is really what makes the dish rather than adding a myriad of different flavors. The huge selection of recipes with less than ten recipes even made me feel like I could take on a mostly raw diet.
Of course, I still didn’t jump in with both feet, but I have had fun dabbling. Though it is a bit more work without a food processor, the fresh Mango Cobbler is delightful, the simple veggie dishes like the Brazil-Broccoli mash and the Thai-Style Cucumbers were good starters, and I loved the huge selection of “mylks” and smoothies. Most of Ani’s shakes and smoothies are quite thin, like a slightly thick beverage, so I learned to tone down the liquids and add more ice since I prefer them thicker and frostier, but to each their own.
As many people have commented, the book could be cut down a bit in size with less wording and photos. While we all love food photos, and it is inspiring to see how healthy Ani is, I think a few less personal photos and a trim down on the overall writing would make this book feel more cohesive. I do love that Ani includes several tips and ideas throughout, but like many raw food cookbooks I have perused, the message of why to go raw seems to be repeat itself. Unfortunately, my debating side tends to go into rebellion when I see a message repeated, combating the overall efforts.
Nonetheless, this is a true find. I can’t speak on behalf of veteran raw foodists, since I am far from one, but for newbies or those of us who are just curious, this is a great starter book filled with easy recipes.