The Raw Truth is a book with information and recipes on preparing and eating raw foods. To call this type of cuisine a fad is an understatement it's a way of life, and it's giving the culinary world quite a shake up. What was once considered only for extremists is now starting to catch on it's only a matter of time before it has a certain mainstream appeal. Originally only found in restaurants labeled "health food" or vegetarian, well-known chefs have begun to experiment with it.
For those unfamiliar, the raw foods movement (or living foods, as some call it) is a type of cuisine where food isn't exactly cooked, it's prepared. In order for foods to qualify as raw foods they cannot be heated beyond 116F. When preparing raw food the kitchen doesn't even need a stove. Food is often "baked" in dehydrators, and juices are as common as stocks in classical cuisine.
The premises behind the raw foods movement are vitamins and enzymes. Raw food contains vital enzymes that aid in digestion, but once food is heated beyond 116F they are destroyed. This is said to put a person's pancreas into overload. Many raw foodists claim that a diet of living fruits and vegetables will add vitality to a person's health and render them virtually disease free.
In addition to being healthier, raw foodists claim to eat much less. Mr. Safron's book has a fair share of information on the subject, and a lot of it comes through as his own. "Personally I eat very little now after eating only raw foods for nearly ten years. I dry fast until noon or later, then eat wheatgrass or a coconut. During the afternoon, I drink juice or smoothies or eat coconuts or other whole fruits. In the evenings I eat whole fruits and one day a week I prepare and eat an elaborate raw meal. Additionally, one day a week I fast on water or coconuts. I eat lots of fresh vital foods picked wild in the jungles and forests or forage or grow almost 80 percent of my food. My current philosophy is bio-unity-being one with nature and foraging or gardening as much as possible of the foods I eat and always being creative and loving with food."
The author goes on to state that a person should find a raw foods philosophy or style that works with their life. And while it's obvious that this diet will not appeal to everyone, The Raw Truth is an interesting book to read and learn about this innovative cuisine.
The Raw Truth is divided into chapters like many cookbooks-information in the beginning and recipes towards the end-but the information and techniques are different in that nothing is actually cooked (thus this isn't a cookbook, per se, but more of a "food preparation book").
The chapter titled Raw Facts is interesting because it discusses the health benefits of eating in this manner (and the negative things when one doesn't). The chapter titled Raw Techniques is also interesting because many of the techniques are not common to the traditional kitchen-soaking dried fruits and nuts, growing wheatgrass, fermentation, sprouting, dehydration.
The recipes are well written and easy to follow, but as is the case with many raw food recipes, the recipe title may not actually be what the recipe is, it's simple given the title to its closest approximation of the original. Take the Waldorf Salad Dressing recipe. This is usually a dressing based on mayonnaise, but here the recipe contains, among other more traditional ingredients, tahini (sesame seed butter), Bragg liquid aminos (an aged soy product used to replace salt), and filtered water. The lasagna recipe replaces pasta with thin-sliced eggplant and zucchini. Soups are not cooked or served hot, they are juiced or pureed. Breads don't contain flour, they are held together with sprouted grains and nuts and dried fruits. But the recipes are creative and some are illustrated through mouthwatering photographs.
Jeremy A. Safron is not a newcomer to this lifestyle. He is the founder of Loving foods and consultant and adviser to raw restaurants around the United States. He has authored other books on healthy lifestyle foods and has another forthcoming. At first this type of cuisine may seem extreme (it is, but in a good way)-healthy foods promote health. The Raw Truth is a perfect introduction for a person unfamiliar with this cuisine, and a person needn't be a raw foodist to enjoy this book. It will be a welcome addition to any cook's library.