Book: Love in the Time of Cholesterol: A Memoir with Recipes by Cecily Ross
Publication date: 2006
Summary: Love in the Time of Cholesterol by Cecily Ross is the account of Ross’s husband’s heart attack at age 44. The book does include recipes, but it’s less about food and more the story of a marriage and a recovery that involves not only a change in a diet, but a pursuit of emotional and mental wellbeing. With well-timed flashbacks, we learn about the relationship between Cecily and her husband Basil from a tenuous long-term friendship, to a quick courtship, and five years of marriage highlighted by the stresses of family interactions and work changes along with an extended search for the perfect country get-away property. The normality of their life is broken by quadruple bypass surgery. The book portrays the fear and horror of heart disease without flinching, but also displays the humor and hope involved in growing through the challenges.
Thoughts: There are several recipes I intend to make from Love in the Time of Cholesterol:
- Tortilla soup, page 30. This will use excess salsa left from my fall CSA boxes.
- Edamame hummus, page 49. I first tried fresh edamame from my CSA box a couple of summers ago and loved it. So, I have been afraid to dilute that experience with frozen edamame. A hummus seems a good way make use of the frozen edamame that I can buy in all seasons.
- Barley-lentil soup, page 142. This looks like a great winter soup and she points out that it can be “an excellent way to use up the odds and ends of dried legumes and grains lurking in the back of your kitchen cupboard.”
The inspiration for today’s recipe, however, came from a discussion on page 38 about the butter, cheese, and mayonnaise traditionally found on sandwiches:
The best substitute we have found for all that animal fat is ripe avocados. Although they’re high in fat, it’s good monounsaturated fat, the kind that lowers bad cholesterol in the blood. They’re also higher in fiber than any other fruit and loaded with potassium, which helps to prevent stroke and high blood pressure. And they have zero cholesterol. In short, the perfect food.
This reminded me of a grilled sandwich I used to order in a restaurant in the mid-80s. Avocado, sprouts, and swiss cheese on sourdough bread.
I didn’t have sourdough bread, but I do have sourdough pizza crusts in the freezer. My sourdough starter is used mostly in these pizza crusts which I roll into small crusts that fit in our toaster oven. I pre-bake them for ten minutes, then store them in the freezer. They thaw in a few minutes on the counter, ready to be the foundation for a healthy meal that’s quicker than delivery.
In the winter, there are always sprouts growing on my counter. I highly recommend the videos at the Sprout People website, particularly the one about a third of the way down this page about the Easy Sprouter, to show how easy and fun it is to grow your own sprouts. I keep the Mother’s Mix, which is healthy for both genders and at any stage of life, in my freezer and start new sprouts every few days in my two Easy Sprouters.
I eat cheese, full-fat and full-flavored, but in smaller quantities than I remembered that sandwich having. So I grated about an ounce over the top of my pizza.
This pizza is probably too idiosyncratic to become a staple of pizzerias worldwide. I didn’t even force it on my husband. But I have enjoyed it a couple of times and will be using the last of my avocado on another one for lunch today.
Joy’s Unusual Avocado Pizza
1 single-serving sized sourdough pizza crust
half of an avocado, sliced
1/2 c of mixed sprouts
1 oz of good Emmentaler cheese
Pre-bake the pizza crust another three minutes at 450 degrees. Top with with avocado, sprouts, and grated cheese. Bake for another minute or so until the cheese is just melted.
Appeal: Readers who suffer from heart disease or who live with someone who does will be comforted and inspired by Love in the Time of Cholesterol. It’s also a good book for anyone making lifestyle changes in the hopes of warding off heart disease. This is also a wonderful book for memoir fans due to the engaging characters and fantastic story-telling.
Challenges: This qualifies as my third book for The Foodie’s Reading Challenge and my second book for the Memorable Memoirs Challenge. It’s also my Weekend Cooking post. Be sure to visit Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking post for her review of The Crabby Cook Cookbook and links to other bloggers’ cooking adventures.