By Peter Kaminsky
Knopf, $24.95, 258 pages

What the world really needs is another diet book prescribing what, how much, and when to eat, or another book filled with bizarre recipes that conform to this week’s definition of healthy. These same books convert a basic human need and pleasure – eating – into a medical regime for which rubber gloves and a mask seem appropriate. For these reasons, Peter Kaminsky’s Culinary Intelligence is a delightfully refreshing approach to health through the preparation and enjoyment of satisfying food.

What strikes the reader first in picking up this book is that Kaminsky is not a medical doctor or fitness guru de jour. Rather, he is a food writer who had to rethink his eating habits after gaining enough weight to damage his health. After maintaining a 35-pound weight loss, Kaminsky essentially concludes that eating good quality, well-prepared, flavorful foods satisfy us in a way that we need less overall. Although readers may never develop Kaminsky’s subtle palette, his ideas stay with the reader and are easy to apply. Most importantly, the reader will approach his or her next meal with a renewed sense of joy and adventure.

Reviewed by Annie Peters