Published earlier this year by Balboa Press, a division of Hay House, Overcoming Obstacles In Cooking is designed for those who either have no cooking experience or are disabled. The author has mild cerebral palsy and overcame that obstacle and others to attain college degrees as well as learning to cook. Some of the recipes are Mathew’s and others were submitted by his friends at Culpepper County High School in Culpeper, Virginia.
After an acknowledgment page there are six short chapters and 10 appendices designed primarily for special education students.
The first chapter “Main Dishes” opens with “Quick and Easy Banana Smoothies.” Mathew’s mom first taught him to cook by making smoothies. Then it is on to “Mushroom Meat Puffs” (page 3), “Steak in a Sack” (page 10) and “Manicotti Miners Delight” (page 11) among others. There are no pictures of the dishes nor is there any nutritional information. Each recipe features an ingredient list and directions with some recipes a bit more complicated than others. Same format follows for all the recipe chapters.
“Broccoli Bread” (page 14) starts off the second chapter “Breads” which ends in page 18 with “Zucchini Bread.” In between are “Dough Knots” (page 15), “Turtles” (page 16) which are a type of skillet biscuit, and “Delicious Corn Bread” (page 17).
Throughout the book the pages are color coded for ease of use. It is a nice touch and works well especially in the green chapter also known as “Vegetables.” This third chapter opens with “Cheryle’s Vegetable Salsa” (page 20) before moving on to “Broccoli Casserole” (page 23) among others.
Purple is the background color for the next chapter titled “Soups And Salads.” Along with “Taco salad” (page 27) and “Layered Salad” (page 33) among others this is where you find out how to make “Red Wine-Thyme Vinaigrette” (page 27).
Desserts come next and open with “Fruit Pizza Cookies” (page 36) before moving on to “Frozen Lemon Dessert” (page 39), “Chocolate Balls” (page 41) and “Chocolate Butterscotch Pudding Cake” (page 52) among others.
“Recipes And Tips From Friends” is next. Primarily made up of recipes submitted from the Culpeper County High School class of 2000, one can find “Brown Sugar Pork Chops” (page 55), “Winter Black Bean Salsa” (page 57) and “Autumn’s Famous Enchiladas” (page 58) among others
After several pages of uncaptioned pictures of the author and friends/family, it is on to the appendices. There a number of these and are primarily aimed towards working with special needs children.
Appendix A it is primarily a poem about what it is to be different than the mainstream.
Appendix B is a page on home crafts and cooking activities that can be used as teaching activities to involve your child.
Appendix C “Using Food in the Classroom” is all about how food can be used to teach the various concepts in Science, Math and English. Found on pages 67 + 68 these pages would also be of interest to those, like myself, who have worked or do work with special education as well as mainstream students. The information here can allow you to see something new in the everyday.
Appendix D is a list of reading cook book related material for various situations.
Appendix E titled “Alphabet Soup” is a two page list of the abbreviations commonly used in special education as well as general education.
Appendix F is all about designing a supplies list for items in the kitchen geared towards a person with disabilities.
Appendix G is a list of bullet points from the author on how to cope with Cerebral Palsy in the kitchen as well as in the world. Much of the advice applies in general to folks regardless of their disability.
Appendix H is all about “Teaching People with Disabilities How to Cook” and various techniques to employ.
Appendix I is a contact info list of eight companies that provide resources and supplies for folks with disabilities. Appendix I is a hodge-podge list of food items, DVD’s, household items and store recommendations for folks with disabilities.
This 90 page book is well done despite the fact it does not contain any nutritional information or pictures at any stage of the recipes. One does not really expect that kind of detailed information in a book of this type. The color coded sections are a nice touch us as are the illustrations appropriate to each section at the beginning as well as alongside the page numbers for that section.
An inspiring book, Overcoming Obstacles In Cooking is designed for those with obstacles and as well as all others to get in the kitchen and get to work. The recipes included showcase a variety rich flavors and offer lots of cooking possibilities.
Overcoming Obstacles In Cooking
Mathew W. Miller
Balboa Press (division of Hay House)
Softcover Paperback (also e-book available)
Material was supplied by the author in exchange for my objective review.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2014