I tend not to admire books purely for their look, but Ripe is certainly the exception. It’s hefty striking orange cover and its unusual square size immediately sets it apart from other books. But it also hit my radar because I just finished taping a video by Dr. Janet Sullivan, chief medical officer of Hudson Health Plan. Dr. Sullivan suggests we can help ourselves and our kids by changing what our plate of food looks like. Rather than having half the plate’s portion filled with meat or fish, change to half including fruits and vegetables. Fruits and Vegetables! That’s what RIPE is all about.
Writer Cheryl Sternman Rule and Photographer Paulette Phlipot created a cookbook based on color. The striking reds of beets and pomegranates. The succulent tastes of orange persimmons and yams. Have you ever heard of yellow pomelos? Greens feature broccoli and the popular edamame. And the purples show off their delicious berries and cabbage. Wait, I left out white. (Read the book to discover the beauty in white.)
Even if you are not a cook, the book is beautiful to look at. The full-page color photographs just jump out at you. You wish you could eat each page rather than have to wait for the chef to prepare a scrumptious meal using RIPE recipes.
For each recipe Rule shares some of her insights on the fruit or vegetable before presenting the recipes For example her potato section starts with:
“It’s a wonder that a hefty baked potato topped with butter, sour cream, and cheese has anything in common with a slim, curvy fingerling or a long, crispy fry. But potatoes are tuberous chameleons, so effortlessly able to span the spectrum from lowbrow to highbrow, from staple to treat. Ask Mr. Potato Head: he’ll tell you it’s just as much fun to wear the crazy pink ears as it is to sport the bush mushy mustache.”
In Dr. Sullivan’s video she suggests that sometimes to get kids to eat vegetables you must be sneaky in your presentation. “Not all vegetables need to look green and mushy,” says Sullivan. Well based on RIPE, I think Rule agrees. Her fruit and vegetable recipes present common ingredients in a colorful style. Good enough for everyone to eat.
This book is a great present for anyone who loves eating (like me) or for that chef on your list.