Chef Del Sroufe Leads the Way to Health, One Recipe At a Time
Better Than Vegan, Chef Del Sroufe's second cookbook, is a treasure trove of recipes, a philosophy of eating, and a compelling life story wrapped in with a stunning compilation of vibrant food photos. This book follows the author's New York Times bestselling Forks Over Knives: The Cookbook, yet stands on its own as a guide to making delicious whole foods, plant-based recipes.
Instructions for recipes are straightforward and simple to follow. Full-color photos of the finished dishes are also useful guides to preparation. The ingredients are familiar and easy to find in any well-stocked grocery story. Many of the recipes have short ingredient lists, and the book gives practical advice on cookware and pantry basics. Chef Del invites you to use his recipes as springboards for your own ideas.
Better Than Vegan is also sprinkled with quiet humor. For example the recipe for Big Fat Breakfast Pizza contains the advice: "Do not share with anyone who criticizes you for making pizza for breakfast." Even newcomers will be inspired to jump into the kitchen and start having fun.
The food spans a varieties of cultures. In each recipe, you can sense Chef Del's determination to prepare great-tasting foods that embody health and are fun to make. He creatively substitutes whole food ingredients for oils, meat, and dairy, using uncomplicated cooking techniques he carefully explains.
Even more, Chef Del tells you why he cooks this way, sharing his battles with obesity, yo-yo dieting, and isolation with unflinching detail. His weight issues started with his parents' divorce when he was age six, and he was on a medically supervised diet by the time he was eight. This escalated to the dangerous weight of 475 pounds when he was in his forties. The interesting thing is that he ate himself to this level on a purely vegan diet of nutritionally-deficient foods dense with oils and concentrated sugars.
Hence Chef Del's new philosophy of eating: a low-fat, whole foods, plant-based diet that brought him down to 230 pounds now. He shares his guidelines with 5 basic rules of nutrition and 10 dietary mistakes of excess and deficiency.
I was fortunate to have the chance to talk with Chef Del about his experience of writing Better Than Vegan. The first question I eagerly posed was about the creative process he uses to come up with recipes.