The book is a member of the popular Eat This, Not That! family of books, in which Zinczenko and Goulding compare menu items at popular restaurants to illuminate which choices will have the least negative impact the health of the consumer (because, let’s face it, eating out is rarely good for one’s health). For the Cook This, Not That! versions, the authors present simple and delicious at-home alternatives to well-known (and often highly caloric) menu items.
In Cook This Not That!: Kitchen Survival Guide, the authors expertly guide the reader through a slew of recipes representing a broad spectrum of tastes. Dishes such as chicken fried rice, Mexican hot dogs, and Dr. Pepper ribs all have a place in this collection. A full-page photo accompanies nearly every recipe, and as you thumb through the images of juicy beer brisket and creamy banana-rum splits, you’ll begin to understand why my copy of this book has something like half of the pages marked. And the best part is that each recipe shows you how to avoid consuming hundreds of extra calories by making your restaurant favorites at home.
I must add, however, that the helpfulness of this book is not limited to recipes alone. Zinczenko and Goulding have many things to say about how to approach eating in a healthy way, and they also include handy references such as nutritional scorecards of different types of foods and a list of food items that make up the ‘perfect pantry.’ In one of the early sections of the book, Zinczenko and Goulding lay out a list of every knife, tool, and pan that you actually need in order to make a complete kitchen—a list that rings up at just $331 total. They also lay out several meal ‘blueprints,’ which consist of food combinations so intuitive that they each need only a few sentences to describe. The overall aim of the book is to empower the reader to develop his or her own healthy cooking skills. And, with enough practice, you can even learn to cook without following a recipe word-for-word (if you’re scared by that idea, don’t worry, you can move at your own pace).
I highly recommend Cook This, Not That!: Kitchen Survival Guide because of its straightforward tone and engaging layout. If you’re interested in breaking free from a recipe rut and learning to make healthy alternatives to restaurant fare in the process, you’ll soon be proudly displaying this cookbook on your kitchen shelf, as I do. Oh, and they have an app for that too.