The power of yum
Sept./Oct. 2015 California Bountiful magazine
Story by Barbara Arciero
Portrait by Matt Salvo
'Culinary translator' links taste and nutrition
Cookbook author Rebecca Katz creates recipes that she says "connect the dots between food, combining big flavor with vibrant health."
Rebecca Katz describes herself as a culinary translator. It's a fitting role for someone who holds a Master of Science degree in health and nutrition education, and also is a trained chef.
"I'm a proponent of what I call the power of yum, which is where great taste and great nutrition don't sit at opposite sides of the table; they sit at the same side of the table," she explained. "For me, a culinary translator is able to translate nutrition to the plate in a really tasty way."
One way the Marin County woman does this is by writing cookbooks with science-based themes. Her latest is "The Healthy Mind Cookbook," a collection of more than 120 recipes formulated to enhance brain function, mood, memory and mental clarity.
"I'm absolutely passionate about the power of food to heal," she said.
It's a weighty subject, but one she tries to make fun and approachable by telling stories about food, being playful with descriptions and meticulously writing and testing the recipes so they can be easily replicated.
"What I hope to do through my books and my style is to help people feel empowered by food and inspired by food, not to be afraid," she said. "If I can inspire somebody to cook using wonderful ingredients, then I'm happy."
Finding ingredients packed with both flavor and nutritional benefits, she said, is easy in California. Among her favorites: avocados, artichokes, Meyer lemons, walnuts, garlic, asparagus and olive oil.
"I feel really grateful that I get to do what I do for a living, that I get to teach and lecture and write about what I love," she said. "Who could ask for anything more?"
Cozy lentil soup with delicata squash
Velvety Mediterranean gazpacho
Carrot apple slaw with orange and cranberry
Chocolate cherry walnut truffles
Golden roasted cauliflower
Kale quinoa salad with red grapes