Yes! I chose the title for my new cookbook because so many people believe that preparing healthy meals is time-consuming, and so they give up before they even try. Others feel that they lack the skills to create the meals they see prepared on television or in cookbooks.
I love to cook, but I don’t care to knock myself out in the kitchen. I enjoy simple meals that are quick and easy, while using fresh ingredients of the best quality. I want those ingredients to shine, not be lost in fussy preparations. I got into cooking when I was a medical student, and I soon discovered that imagining an enticing meal and then making it for myself was the perfect way to get my mind back in balance after long stretches of working in depressing hospital wards where the only available food was wretched. Chopping vegetables became a form of meditation for me. Creating a meal to come as close as possible to the way I imagined it was an exercise in practical magic.
I have always believed that delicious food and food that’s good for us can be one and the same. If you think that eating healthy means giving up everything you like, I assure you that is not the case. The recipes I included in Fast Food, Good Food conform to cutting-edge nutritional science: they also yield dishes that taste great. I want to see eating habits improve, but I know that first and foremost, food has to taste good.
The recipes are not difficult, can be prepared quickly, and give results you will love. The book is about fast food in the best sense & real food that takes little time to prepare. Many recipes can be made in just 30 minutes. Some need more cooking time, but the preparation is quick. Others may require a lot of chopping, but little cooking time. None are complicated or difficult.
They are all based on the anti-inflammatory diet, an eating plan I recommend for its power to optimize health and reduce risks of serious disease. What we eat influences inflammation and the mainstream diet in North American is clearly pro-inflammatory and unhealthy. I used the Mediterranean diet as a template for my eating plan because strong research data correlate it with longevity, good health and the lowest overall disease risk. I added Asian influences to the basic Mediterranean diet & spices like ginger and turmeric, for example, which are potent natural anti-inflammatory agents. And I tweaked it in other ways to increase its potential to contain inappropriate inflammation.
Keep in mind that the recipes in Fast Food, Good Food are also meant to be tweaked & by you. Feel free to experiment with them, changing ingredients to suit your taste. Above all: keep it simple.
And once you’ve finished cooking, take time to enjoy your meals. One aspect of the good health associated with the Mediterranean diet is that people of the region do not eat mindlessly or on the run. They take pleasure in excellent food eaten without haste in the company of friends and family. I try to follow their example.
Andrew Weil, M.D.