The Blue Zones American Kitchen: 100 Recipes To Live to 100

National Geographic. (Blue Zones). Dec. 2022. 304p. ISBN 9781426222474. $35. COOKING
At first glance, the idea of an American approach to the Blue Zones diet seems far-fetched and maybe even paradoxical. After all, the Standard American Diet is built on the foods that eaters in the Blue Zones eschew. Buettner (The Blue Zones Challenge) has curated a thoughtful collection of dishes that draw upon the origins of American foods and culinary traditions. He calls for more use of local ingredients and foods that have been grown and eaten in locales across the United States for centuries. Dishes include stir-fried cabbage and beets, hoppin’ john, tofu scramble, whole cauliflower with makhani sauce, and other dishes drawing upon African, Latin, and Asian influences.
VERDICT Some of Buettner’s claims are perhaps heavy-handed (e.g., the book will add years to one’s life), but the recipes and the stories behind them showcase what’s best about food culture: its deeply rooted, community-building practices and the health benefits that accrue from eating in reflective, purposeful ways.
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