Book Grub: If It Makes You Healthy

By Rekaya Gibson

Singer Sheryl Crow and Chef Chuck White joined forces to create “If It Makes You Healthy,” a cookbook filled with good food and family memories. The hardback consists of more than 100 recipes that include an assortment of herbs, organic fruits and veggies, and fresh fish–just to name a few.  In addition, White takes traditional favorites and makes them healthier like the Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwiches with Roma Tomato Soup Shooters with its three cheeses–sharp cheddar, smoked Gouda, and Colby Jack (page 30).

When Crow found out that she had breast cancer five years ago, her oncologist suggested that she consult a nutritionist, Rachel S. Beller. Then, she hired White to become her personal chef, on and off the road. He introduced spices and cancer-fighting agents to keep Crow, her family, and the band healthy. He even threw in a nice mix of vegetarian as well as vegan selections. Try the Asian-Marinated Tofu with Pea-Wasabi Coulis; the colors in the photo image bounce off the page 91.

Though Crow does not cook most of her meals, her contributions to the book reflect ownership. It is broken down into two sections. The first, “On the Road: Spring and Summer,” discusses recipes she enjoys while on the road such as the Roasted Salmon with Blueberry BBQ Sauce (79). The second, “In the Studio: Fall and Winter,” takes Crow home to her farm for some comfort foods such as Banana Bread Pudding (page 239). Both journeys offer recipes for appetizers, snacks, soups, salads, main courses, side dishes, and dessert ideas.

Family photos grace the pages throughout the seasons and Crow shares stories about growing up with meals being the focal point for family gatherings. Both White and Crow make comments on each recipe. Occasionally, there are tips from the nutritionist. Full-page notes are added about cooking tips, nutrition, and/or purchasing the best ingredients.

So imagine the excitement when it came time to try a dish in the cookbook. Right away, the Smoky White Bean and the Rosemary Spread gave hummus a run for its money (page 135). The smoked paprika added an amazing pungent to the appetizer. White suggested using a little less than suggested in the recipe and to taste it before adding more. The exact amount turned the mixture a little red, unlike the picture. Still, folks raved about the spread as they ate it on buttery crackers. Now, they are smoked paprika fans.

“If It Makes You Healthy” not only offers “delicious recipes inspired by the seasons” as the cover boasts, but it functions as a learning tool of fresh ideas, equipping people who are ready for a lifestyle change. As an added bonus, there is a seasonal chart for fruits and vegetables in the back as a reference. Sheryl Crow and Chef Chuck White provide a cookbook worth reading and sharing with family, friends, and fans.

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