‘Forbidden Foods’ Are the Lure

Times Staff Writer

Quick ‘N Natural: No Salt Low Cholesterol Cooking by Jay Rivkin (S.F.V.A.R. Press: $10, paperback, 118 pages, illustrated)

There is a chapter in “Quick ‘N Natural” entitled, “The Guilty Gourmet Or: Taking This Book With a Grain of Salt.” Well, if you can live with that, the book might save you a lot of time hunting for similar recipes in “Joy of Cooking” or “Doubleday Cookbook,” or whatever cookbook you have.

Apart from the good cause it supports (proceeds from the sale benefit the developmentally disabled via the San Fernando Valley Assn. for the Retarded Inc. in Sepulveda), what makes this book valuable is the type of recipes it contains, not the nutritional claims. Otherwise, soy sauce, which is a high-sodium product meant for heightening and flavoring taste of food (as is salt), would not have appeared in the book at all. And the oil content (polyunsaturated or not) in recipes would not flow as freely as it does, nor would sugar and its numerous counterparts.

These are recipes that most modern cooks use every day and when they entertain. Familiar things, such as lemon chicken, Chinese chicken casserole and drunk chicken; albondigas and Russian borscht; Greek eggplant dip and yogurt dressing; Caesar salad, taboulleh and sumi salad; and pasta primavera, bulgar pilaf, Spanish rice and wild rice pancakes (in the pasta and grain category). There are good recipes for paella, cioppino, bouillabaisse and egg flower soup, and among the desserts you’ll find snow drop cookies, Ozark pudding, a light chocolate mousse and Bavarian jello that is also light on calories.


However, I like the chapter on the “forbidden foods,” meaning that you are slipping badly calorie-wise but don’t care: such good-sounding things as stuffed apricot lamb, pizza frittata, Mexican goulash for 20, Indian lamb curry, Asian sesame beef and others.

The recipes are the contributions of several members of the organization. The remainder were provided by the agency’s Cookbook Committee. The recipe compiler, designer and illustrator is Jay Rivkin, author of several other cookbooks, including “The Egg and the Eye Cookbook,” “Women’s Lib Cookbook” and the “Absolutely No-Calorie Dessert Cookbook.”

For a copy of “Quick ‘N Natural,” call Gloria Griskevitch at SFVAR (San Fernando Valley Assn. for the Retarded, Inc.), (818) 984-9301, or write to SFVAR, 15725 Parthenia St., Sepulveda, Calif. 91343. Enclose check or money order for $10 plus $2 for handling.