Laurel's Kitchen by Laurel Robertson, Carol Flinders and Bronwen Godfrey

It's about eating intentionally.

About Laurel's Kitchen by Laurel Robertson, Carol Flinders and Bronwen Godfrey* (description is for later edition): The New Laurel's Kitchen is everything that made the first edition loved and trusted, with hundreds of new recipes and the latest nutritional information.
• Over 500 recipes, ideas, menus, and suggestions, each tested and perfected for satisfying, wholesome home cooking
• Imaginative use of low-cost, easy-to-find foods
• Dozens of ways to cut back on fat without losting flavor
• Revolutionary food guide that makes good nutrition easy
• Sections on cooking for children, elders, pregnant moms, athletes
• Practical applications of the latest in nutrition science

My two cents

No, I’m not a vegetarian (does eating only veggies on some days count?). This powerhouse cookbook looks more like a paperback novel than a cookbook. But has something I couldn’t ignore … nutrition information and what could very well be a treatise on “health foods for healthy living.” It has been dubbed as “America’s first complete guide to cooking delicious natural foods.”

First published in 1976, it started out as friends wanting “to share their unique kitchen experiences and pass on a solid collection of tempting, inexpensive vegetarian dishes.” It has novel-like sections which detail the tentative steps of Carol, a non-vegetarian, into the world of “living intentionally” and hence eating right. Her journey brought her to Laurel, a vegetarian who cooked with a passion.

It doesn’t have a hardnosed vegetarian stance, and I learnt much of the larger context of what it means to “eat intentionally.” Eating, after all, requires discipline. Putting some thought to preparing what you eat demands even greater discipline.

"The way people eat is closely connected with the way they live.” In this fast-paced world, the act of eating is taking on this very characteristic. No wonder then for fast food joints, pre-cooked foods in a pack, eating on the go. And no wonder of the detrimental health effects. All that sugar, salt and grease hidden in these foods has resulted in obesity, heart problems, allergies … increasingly being seen even in the young.


The 30 peso copy!
Another interesting thought is how our conception of meals revolve around a meat dish. We ask, what’s for dinner and we say “sinigang” or “chicken”. When we embraced the idea that a meal need not necessarily be so, we are no longer constrained to a meal consisting of rice, a meat dish and a vegetable. We have become more adventurous like having lentil soup for dinner, or grilled vegetables for lunch.

Laurel’s Kitchen discusses valuable nutrition information if you do want to venture into a meatless diet, how vegetarianism can help you with weight control, and ways to preserve nutrients in cooking. And the advice isn’t something to scoff about either as Bronwen is a registered nurse and the book is endorsed by a professor of a nutrition department of a renowned university.


May I remind you that it’s a cookbook? It has recipes grouped by the three meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and full chapters on breads, salads and salad dressings, soups, vegetables, sauces, grains and beans, and (my favorite) desserts. It also has useful menus and even recipes for international cooking (French, Greek, Italian, Middle Eastern, Mexican, and Indian).

The book has been reprinted and updated numerous times. I even saw that there is a Laurel’s Kitchen Breadbook! All the lessons are invaluable. I can personally attest to how our conscious choice to eat food that nourishes has drastically changed our lives.

At 30 pesos at Booksale during one of my hunts, I could very easily have pushed this unobtrusive-looking book aside. Thank goodness I didn’t.

{reposted from here}


  1. I like the idea of more intentional or conscientious eating. Very nice review of Laurel's Kitchen!

    1. This is one of my very first book reviews, Suko! I still have the copy of this book, ratty but still useful. I hope you borrow or get a copy. Let me know what you think ...



© guiltless readingMaira Gall