Click Here to get free weekly recipes and exclusive giveaways.

The Essential Good Food Guide Book Review {GIVEAWAY}

by Jeanette on August 16, 2013 · 19 Comments
Don't miss out on any recipes! Sign up for my weekly e-newsletter. Simply click here to subscribe. You can also subscribe to my cooking videos on YouTube here.

The Essential Good Food Guide

When I first flipped through Margaret Wittenberg’s The Essential Good Food Guide, I thought it was just another book that would sit on my bookshelf and collect dust. I was dead wrong. The subtitle of this book says it all – “The Complete Resource for Buying and Using Whole Grains and Specialty Flours, Heirloom Fruits and Vegetables, Meat and Poultry, Seafood, and More.”

The Essential Good Food Guide is exceptionally comprehensive in the foods and ingredients that are covered. Whether you want to know the difference between light miso and dark miso, how to prepare beans so they’re more digestible, how to make nut and seed milks, or want learn more about 30+ varieties of rice or 70+ beans and peas, The Essential Good Food Guide covers all the bases.

Rice Varieties from The Essential Good Food Guide

As a foodie and an experienced cook, I was pleasantly surprised to find so many foods in the book that I’d never heard of (e.g., Arikara yellow beans, Hutterite beans, Kalinga Unoy rice, Ulikan Red rice).

It’s a great reference guide whether you’re new to cooking, just curious about ingredients, or an experienced cook who wants to learn about new ingredients and how best to utilize them in recipes.

Lentil Varieties from The Essential Good Food Guide

Here are some of the topics discussed in the book to give you a feel for the expansiveness and depth of  topics covered:

  • Comprehensive ingredient profiles for fruits & vegetables, grains/flour/bread, pasta & noodles, beans/peas/lentils/soy products, nuts & seeds, meat & poultry, seafood, dairy products & eggs, culinary oils, essential seasonings, and sweeteners
  • Clarification of current produce and food labeling (e.g., omega-3 eggs versus organic eggs and pastured-raised eggs)
  • Food purchasing, storage and food safety tips (e.g., how to buy the best quality grains and store them properly to avoid grain pests, how to grow bean and grain sprouts safely)
  • Explanations of how different cooking methods can enhance flavors and textures, e.g., cooking whole grains using each of five different methods can yield unique results
  • Charts to help the reader understand the application of whole ingredients in cooking (e.g., Rocotillo peppers are suggested for ceviche and salsas versus Poblano peppers which are best roasted or cooked in sauces, moles and stews)
  • An explanation of the difference between Italian pastas and Asian noodles, and how to prepare Asian noodles (e.g., some Asian noodles require pre-soaking before cooking)
  • Nutritional overview of fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds, and sea vegetables
  • An explanation of the role that gluten plays in baking, and how to bake with nonwheat flours, including a chart of gluten-free flours that includes descriptions of flavor, baked texture, and baked goods that work best with each one
  • Guidelines for substituting alternative sweeteners (e.g,. honey, maple syrup, molasses, sorghum syrup, amasake) for conventional white or brown sugar

Asian Noodles from The Essential Good Food Guide

As a former member of the USDA National Organic Standards Board, and having served on many other boards focused on organic agriculature, seafood sustainability, agricultural environmental standards, and farm animal welfare, Margaret Wittenberg capably educates consumers on where their food comes from, how to store food properly, and how to best prepare food to make them shine in everyday cooking.

I know I’ll be referring to The Essential Good Food Guide when I get my hands on some tepary beans or Mountain Violet sticky rice, and when I try cooking whole sorghum for the first time.

And now for the Giveaway! THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

All photographs reprinted with permission from The Essential Good Food Guide by Margaret Wittenberg, copyright (c) 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.

Photographs (c) 2013 Jennifer Martine

Disclosure: I was provided a copy of The Essential Good Food Guide for review; my opinions are expressly my own.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. I think most diseases and ailments are related to our diet, so I would think Alzheimer’s is probably related to our diet as well. I try to eat food that is as pure and whole as I can find and avoid preservatives, GMOs, and “fake” ingredients. I think this is the key to healthy living along with exercise and minimizing stress. Thanks for the giveaway!

  2. I truely believe Alzheimer’s can be prevented and treated with the right nutrition, aswell as só many more diseases, simply by switching to an alkaline food plan.

  3. I would like to know more about ancient grains. We rely too much on the old standards at our house and would like some more nutritious options.

  4. The more I cook, the more I realize that there is a lot I don’t know about food – where it comes from, how it is produced. And you had me at the different varieties of rice I didn’t know existed. This sounds like a book we should all read and refer to.

  5. Sounds like an amazing resource Jeanette. It’s amazing how little we know when we decide to start and learn. So wonderful!

  6. alicia k (Petite Pilates Pixie) says:

    gmos i want to learn more about

  7. I would like to know more about the different Asian Noodles and the proper way in which to prepare them. The book sounds wonderful! Packed full of good info! Thanks for the chance to win.

  8. Bethany C. says:

    I’d like to learn about alternative sweeteners.

  9. What a great resource! For the last two years I have grown beans: pinto, dragon’s tongue, lima, yin and yang, and edamame. They have all been wonderful. I am interested in growing and trying other kinds.

  10. I love learning about legumes and whole grains! This sounds like such an awesome book!

  11. I would like to learn more about ancient grains & how to prepare them.

  12. I’d like to learn more about some of the fruits & veggies that are used in other countries/cuisines.

  13. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and the comment. I’m a new subscriber here. This looks like a great book! I’d like to learn more about Asian noodles.

  14. Christine P says:

    I am very limited with the grains I use and know about – I would love to learn more and really dive into where the come from and the benefits of them!

  15. Jolene Ramsey says:

    When my husband graduated from Medical School his sister gave us a copy of How to Cook Everything Vegetarian which I have found to be an extremely useful print resource as I switch over . Since reading many of the sections in that book, I have turned to the internet to find more information. But, there is nothing like having a print copy to refer to at home. Especially since I already spend so much time on my computer. I would especially like to understand the difference in all the varieties of rice and how to prepare them separately or in combination. I have tried mixing several rices varieties to make a homemade wild rice type mix, but not all the rice grains cook at the same time. Whether or not I win this giveaway, I look forward to browsing more through your site for helpful information.

  16. Kristin Celeste says:

    Thank you for hosting the book giveaway. I am keeping my fingers crossed to win and copy and discover new foods to explore!

  17. I’d like to learn more about Greek food, I’ve mastered simple meat dishes but there’s so much more to taste!

  18. I would like to learn more about tofu.

  19. Laurel Fraher says:

    I would love to know more about different grains and legumes – it seems there are always new ones I’ve never heard of!!

Leave a Comment