The Natural Gourmet

At first glance, Annemarie Colbin’s prescriptions for healthy eating in The Natural Gourmet seem to hark back to the days of countercultural lunacy. The proprietor of Manhattan’s Natural Gourmet Cookery School, Colbin balances her meals and dishes according to a complicated system based on what she calls the Chinese Theory of the Five Phases: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Whatever the theory, her ideas on how nutrition works may well seem, to use a phrase from the ’60s, off the wall. The recipes, mostly meatless and dairy-free, include elements from around the globe but lean heavily on Japanese ingredients such as miso (a fermented soy paste) and kuzu (a starch) that have become staples of the macrobiotic diet. Colbin doesn’t just play with macrobiotic trappings; she uses them to create recipes with the clean, clear harmony that constitutes correct eating according to that philosophy. Try a few and you’ll find Colbin to be a mentor of superior taste and talent. B

The Natural Gourmet
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