Health Food for the Mind

The Healthy Mind Cookbook: Big-Flavor Recipes to Enhance Brain Function, Mood, Memory, and Mental Clarity, by Rebecca Katz and Mat Edelson, (Ten Speed Press), 256 pages, release date 10 February, 2015

The full title of Katz and Edelson’s Healthy Mind Cookbook makes some big promises. These aren’t just recipes that will taste good; they’re recipes that will optimize your brain function. Given the rapidity with which any nutritional consensus falls out of date, I’m hesitant to accept that the book will deliver all it promises, but Katz and Edelson are generous in citing the science they’re drawing on. The first two chapters are devoted to explaining this science in clear terms. The third chapter is devoted to a discussion of taste and flavor. After this, come seven chapters each devoted to a different kind of dish. There are the usual soups, vegetables, meats and such. There are also more winsome chapters focused on things like “Dollops” and  “Tonics and Elixirs.” In other words, this is a cookbook that provides a nice mix of the expected and the unexpected.

Not all the dishes are accompanied by photos, which was a bit disappointing. On the other hand, those pictured look delicious. The glistening Avocado Citrus Salad with its slices of blood orange is enough to inspire an emergency grocery store run. Castilian Cauliflower isn’t pictured, but should prove a visually striking dish with its inclusion of  paprika, chili powder, and pimento-stuffed olives.

Black Cod Duet is wrapped and allowed to absorb flavor and nutrients after bring covered with either an herb or a spice crust and before being cooked. Though I’m not always big on salmon, I love the Roasted Ginger Salmon with Pomegranate Olive Mint Salsa—and I’ll definitely be trying the salsa with other dishes.

Bottom line: this is a recipe collection that will provide satisfying, healthful dishes, and—if the scientific consensus doesn’t change too soon—it may also be good for your brain.