Books: Cooking by Cuisine -> Cooking Caribbean
Published: September 15, 1998
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The food of the islands has its own special charm--who can resist the call of the jerk? But, in between nibbles of sweet plantain and empanada, we wonder if we'll hate ourselves in the morning when we tally up the fat grams and sodium we
consumed the night before. Aiming to take the fear out of the feasting, dietician and culinary instructor Donna Shields has penned Caribbean Light, a healthy romp through the kitchens of our West Indian neighbors.
Shields clearly loves her work
and her subject. Making it plain in the introduction that flavor and authenticity are more important to her than cutting every last calorie, she takes our hand and guides us through over 125 fabulous, relatively simple recipes such as Coconut Kerry
Chicken, Marinated Palm Hearts, and Drunken Shrimp. Each recipe is followed with information on calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, vitamins, and minerals, to allow the reader to decide if the pork chop's worth it (it is). Well-indexed and easy-to-use,
with informative sidebars on many aspects of Carib cuisine, the only thing this cookbook is missing is illustrations. Viewed as incentive to actually make the dishes, though, perhaps that's not such a bad thing after all. --Rob Lightner
Caribbean Light brings you vibrant, good-time, home-style island food that's not only exciting, but healthful and nutritious as well.
Caribbean food is a medley of brilliant colors, bold flavors, and lush presentations. The cooking
techniques combine European, African, Indian, and Chinese influences, and the result is a cuisine with a big, assertive personality.
Using selective but authentic ingredients and lighter cooking methods, Donna Shields harnesses that boldness and,
without dimming the color or diminishing its assertiveness, interprets Caribbean cooking for the healthy American lifestyle.
The more than 125 recipes--for such exotically named but easy-to-cook dishes as Coo-Coo (the Caribbean answer to polenta),
Suds 'n' Snapper (a tasty poached fish that lets you have your beer and eat it too), Stuffed Banana Lime Voodoo Chicken (the only magic is in the taste), and Pia Colada Custard Pie (featuring pineapple and coconut, just like the drink)--are accompanied
by notes on their origins, descriptions of tropical ingredients, and short essays on island customs and festivals. Each of the recipes includes a nutritional breakdown of calories, fat, cholesterol, and sodium.
Donna Shields writes with a touch of
whimsy befitting the carefree mood of the islands, and Caribbean Light is an invitation to savor these lusty tropical flavors in a collection of healthful, down-to-earth dishes designed to please American tastes.
Donna Shields, who is a registered
dietitian with a master's degree in nutrition communications, lives in Key West, Florida, where she operates Key West Culinary, a consulting firm for restaurant chains and food manufacturers. She is a former faculty member at the Culinary Institute of
America, and her articles on healthful tropical cuisine have been published in Cooking Light, Better Homes and Gardens Low Calorie, Weight Watchers, Caribbean Travel and Life, and Restaurants USA magazines. She promotes healthful Caribbean cuisine
through special events on cruise ships, speaking engagements for the Caribbean Culinary Federation, and on television.
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