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Julie Le Clerc’s “Made By Hand”

January 14, 2011

I scored this fantastic find a few days ago, down from $52 to $30.

I don’t even know where to begin with my praise for this book. While it’s clearly targeted at those who are trying to ease their way into healthier, more natural cooking, it offers inspiration for those who have been cooking naturally for years.

What is truly inspirational is that Julie stays grounded – in her section on superfoods, the vast majority of ingredients are not at all expensive or difficult to find, and can easily be found at any supermarket. No exotic acai berries or goji berries to be seen – much of the foods are ones you can even grow in your backyard.

There are heaps of little tips and tidbits scattered throughout (but formatted so as not to add clutter to the straightforward steps of each recipe) to encourage you to try each dish. Where appropriate, there is a recognition that sometimes not all the ingredients will be on hand – there are substitutions which are highly practical and sound delicious – they also open your eyes to the possibilities beyond the ingredients list.

The book goes beyond simply providing recipes, with guides on how to steer yourself towards a healthier way of living that doesn’t require a huge budget or lots of extra time. Best of all, she makes it appealing, because she doesn’t just lecture, but points out the emotionally rewarding aspects of such a lifestyle as well as its practical benefits. For those with gluten intolerances, there are also plenty of recipes using a small number of gluten free flours (so you don’t have to have heaps of different ones).

If you’re in NZ, there’s the added bonus of all the recipes using “sensible” measurements!

Last of all, it really helps having a (gorgeous) photo for every recipe, to show how you can style up your food to make it look pretty as well as delicious. If you’re wondering, I snagged mine up at Paper Plus, but I’ve also seen this book at Living and Giving (not discounted though).

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