Seamus Mullen's Hero Food: How Cooking with Delicious Things Can Make Us Feel Better
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Publication Date: April 2012
Featured Recipe: Fork-Crushed Sweet Potatoes with Sobrassada and a Fried Egg
From celebrity chef Seamus Mullen, Hero Food is not only a cookbook, but a personal philosophy of well-being. The subtitle says it all: How Cooking with Delicious Things Can Make Us Feel Better. Mullen was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis five years ago, and in that time, he has discovered how incorporating 18 key ingredients into his cooking improved his quality of life. In Hero Food, he shows how to make these key ingredients, or “hero foods,” your cooking friends; they can be added to many dishes to enhance health and flavor.
Hero Food is divided into four sections, each devoted to a season. Each season is introduced with a richly imaged “movie,” providing the context of Seamus’s life and the source of many of the imaginative and beautiful recipes contained in each seasonal section. Seamus’s “heroes” are real food, elemental things like good meat, good birds, eggs, greens, grains, and berries. He cares about how his vegetables are grown, how his fruit is treated, and about the freshness and sustainability of the fish he uses. His hope is that you will eventually forget about why these recipes are good for you and that you’ll make them just because they taste good.
Cooks&Books&Recipes Featured Cook Sheri:
I wasn’t sure what to expect in a cookbook titled Hero Food. My guess was that it would be your typical healthy-type dishes, with a focus on anti-inflammatory ingredients. I was only partially right–the book does highlight anti-inflammatory ingredients (I had read about Seamus Mullen’s experiences with rheumatoid arthritis), but the recipes are anything but typical.
I was delighted to find out that Mullen is a fanatic for Spanish food, so many of the dishes have a distinct Spanish flair. The book is arranged seasonally (specific to different locales–Barcelona, his rooftop, the farm, Vermont) and then by ingredient. There are interesting techniques interspersed throughout the book, such as how to smoke olive oil and how to cut up a duck. There are also helpful notes on ingredients, such as almonds and sobrassada.
Each chapter has a range of types of recipes: a risotto of Irish oats topped with an egg for lunch, or raspberries and yogurt with buttermilk crepes for dessert. The corn-and-crab salad sounds amazing, and so do the creamy grits with slow-cooked pork loin.