David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl are the kind of crazy people you want to invite over on a Saturday night and enjoy great meals and conversation until the wee hours of the morning. The duo are the authors of Green Kitchen Travels: Healthy Vegetarian Food Inspired By Our Adventures (to be released October 1, 2014).
David and Luise embarked on a journey around the world when their daughter Elsa was seven months old. They’re popular food blog, Green Kitchen Stories, is full of delicious recipes and stunning images (of note: David is the photographer for both the blog and the book; Luise is the self-proclaimed happy health freak with a passion for developing wheat-free and sugar-free recipes). Realizing life doesn’t end when kids enter the picture, they packed their bags and went exploring.
The result is a visually stunning book filled with 90 recipes that are accessible to the home cook based on their travels (all except two are gluten-free). Taking inspiration from traditional recipes, with some slight adjustments, they’re made healthier for everyday meals. For example, being of Cypriot descent, my mother often makes dolmades stuffed with ground meat and rice. For those who prefer a vegetarian version, check out the Quinoa Dolmades with Greek Salad on page 115 which substitutes quinoa for the meat.
Honestly, though, while the recipes look absolutely decadent (each and every recipe has an accompanying photo), the photos are just as much a part of this book as are the recipes. Candid images of Elsa can be found throughout but peppered in between recipes and chapters are crisp images of people and life in the countries they’ve visited. I would have loved knowing where many of the images were taken (they’re not cited near the photographs or end of book).
I think what truly makes this book different than other global cookbooks is that it’s not just about the food. The authors have gone through great pains not to assert themselves too much into the book so it reads like a memoir yet their hand is in everything ~ from the recipe creation and photography to the interactions they have with the people they come into contact.
Their short introductions to each recipe is thoughtful and meant to give the cook some context but that’s also where their personalities shine. They bring you in as if you were with them at the wonderful hole-in-the-wall restaurant somewhere in the Born district of Barcelona or having a conversation on an airplane about a recipe.
Preserving recipes is important and I love how this duo has managed to share with their readers global recipes but also making them healthier for us without sacrificing taste. When I asked my mother to teach me how to make Greek yogurt, I wanted to make sure I captured her way of doing it and to help me figure out how to make it “my way”.
Another reason I love this book is because many of the recipes can be done with young kids. As most of us know, they’ll be more likely to try new flavors and dishes when they have a hand in making them. Also, it teaches them about the world in a way that few geography classes can. I’m a big fan of helping kids learn about the world around us through food, even if you can’t always hop on an airplane and jetset to a new place. Books are a great way to introduce children about the world and food and they don’t always have to be cookbooks.
Green Kitchen Travels is an inspiring book that is equal parts cookbook, travel journal and photo album. I’m thrilled it’s part of our home collection and can’t wait to put some of these recipes to the test with my own kids.