The China Study Cookbook Review

The China Study Cookbook Review

Title: The China Study Cookbook: Revised and Expanded Edition with Over 175 Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipes
Author: LeAnne Campbell PhD
Published: June 5, 2018, BenBella Books
No. of Pages: 320
Cover Price: $24.95 Paperback, $14.49 Kindle

Most people are considered either 1) those who eat to live or, 2) those who live to eat. The China Study Cookbook: Revised and Expanded Edition with Over 175 Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipes, by the daughter of the man who did the original study, LeAnn Campbell, is definitely a cookbook for those who fit in category 1. There are benefits to eating a plant based diet with no added fat or sugar, and while many of these foods are quite good, when compared to foods made with meats, poultry, fat, sugar, etc. there is really no argument. The author raised two boys on the diet, conducted classes for others interested in following the China Study philosophy, and sold millions of copies of her cookbook.

Fortunately, there are differences in tastes, and no “foodometer” to tell us which actually tastes better, so most of us are free to choose which way we want to cook and eat. The results in following Campbell’s strict guidelines are amazing, In fact, the results of the study are amazing.

While several of the recipes in this cookbook are edible and quite good, the China Study Philosophy along with the strict guidelines, isn’t for everyone. There are foodies out there who would rather sacrifice a little nutrition for a lot of good food. Quite honestly, would you choose Baked Tofu Cubes or a recipe from Southern Living for crunchy cheesy bread cubes? (Both look quite similar, but…)

The one place this cookbook shines is in the salad department. Campbell has included several mouthwatering salads; the dressings have no oil, which takes some getting used to, but it’s easy to add a teaspoon or to if you feel it’s needed.

It was actually difficult to find recipes that “blew me away” in this cookbook; the breads I tried tended to be heavy and didn’t rise much. There are a few okay soups – Spicy Pumpkin Soup and Quick Three Bean Soup – passable but not exciting. Sandwiches include veggie subs, and wraps made with hummus. Thai Vegetable Curry has a flavorful sauce, but isn’t much different than our family recipe. Campbell has included some good side dishes, and desserts that are pretty and would be excellent if there weren’t a pastry shop nearby to compare them to.

On the upside, the photographs are beautiful, the recipes are well-written and concise, and everything is healthy. If you’re a tree-hugger, vegan, or tend to jump on diet bandwagons, this may be a book you are interested in.

Special thanks to NetGalley for supplying a review copy of this book.

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