The Friday Cookbook Review: “Canyon Ranch Cooks”

To compare  Canyon Ranch other “health spas” is like comparing 25 year old bourbon to ice tea. From the original location in the woods of western Massachusetts, to the Tucson, AZ facility in the foot hills of the  Santa Catalina Mountains, to the just-opened, jaw dropping over-the-top splendor of the new Miami location, the “Canyon Ranch Experience” is like no other.

The experience doesn’t come cheaply. A “3 Night Get-Away” for two shown on their website costs $2,850 per person for “Deluxe” (aka basic) accommodations, including a $390 allowance for spas and other services.  Still, one doesn’t go there to “experience a healthy lifestyle”, rather to be assimilated Borg-like into the world that is Canyon Ranch. From 3 gourmet meals a day, to a wide array of exercises physical, intellectual and spiritual, Canyon Ranch ” aims to inspire people to make a commitment to healthy living, turning hopes and intentions into the highest enjoyment of life.”

They also serve up some of the best tasting meals known to man, healthy or otherwise. Their culinary staff has mastered the art of taking the ordinary and turning it into a dish that’s both healthy and memorable. Forget all the other “healthy meals cookbooks” – the Canyon Ranch series of cookbooks is what you want.

As a Personal Chef, I have prepared thousands of low fat, low carb and otherwise “healthy” recipes for clients. Those that are most requested are those I have from Canyon Ranch.

Canyon Ranch Cooks” by Barry Correia, Scott Uehlein, 2007, Rodale, is the latest in this series. It opens with a set of “guiding principles”, guidelines that are positive in tone, rather than the “can’t eat” rules so common to diets.  In fact, images.barnesandnoble.comthe term “diet” doesn’t appear. This is about lifestyle change, and with cooking like this, this is a change you will actually want to make.

Old favorite and refreshingly new dishes are here. Sweet Potato Pancakes and Springtime Quiche for breakfast (or breakfast anytime),  a Carrot and Ginger Soup that’s perfect hot or cold, for lunch or dinner.  Appetizers, salads, party foods, desserts – every palate, every day part, every special event is covered here. For the herbivore, there’s an incredible section of vegetarian meals, including Roasted Vegetable Manicotti that my clients have come to love.  And if you’re just starting to cook, you’ll find the “Cook’s Notes” that come with nearly every recipe, a wealth of knowledge.

You made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight and eat healthy, right? How’s that coming? “Canyon Ranch Cooks” can help you.

Cover art courtesy
Kent McDonald is a Certified Personal Chef, living and working in Phoenix, AZ. (c) All Rights Reserved 2009

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