The latest titles by food gurus including Gordon Ramsay and the Barefoot Contessa made a list of "The Five Worst Cookbooks of 2010" put out by a health advocacy group called the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Here's the list:
Gordon Ramsay's World Kitchen: Recipes from the F-Word, by Gordon Ramsay
Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood, by Trisha Yearwood
How to Cook Like a Top Chef, by the creators of Top Chef
Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?: Fabulous Recipes & Easy Tips by Ina Garten
The Primal Blueprint Cookbook: Primal, Low Carb, Paleo, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free by Mark Sisson and Jennifer Meier
Although you can find the PCRM's detailed criticisms on their site, their complaint about all five books is that their recipes contain lots of animal fat, and the PCRM's mission is to promote the health benefits of vegetarianism (among their initiatives is the creation of "The New Four Food Groups," which consist of Fruit, Vegetables, Whole Grains and Legumes).
At least one of the authors has shot back: On his website, Mark Sisson slams the PCRM as nothing but a "subtle PETA" with a "vegan agenda," and continues to maintain that eating an animal protein-based diet is the secret to health and weight loss and that grains are actually evil.
Personally, I think it's ridiculous to suggest that any sort of home cooking (even of the high-animal-fat variety embraced by these books) is a big health problem. There's far more evidence that fast food and highly-processed supermarket "foods," with their corn syrup and trans fats and hidden sodium, are the main culprit behind our country's obesity, diabetes and heart disease epidemics. So if you're going to give out a worst cookbook award I think Sandra Lee's Semi-Homemade: The Complete Cookbook would take home the prize, since Lee encourages people to use ingredients that come in cans and plastic bags. Still, even Lee's variety of "cooking" is superior, health-wise, to picking up dinner at a drive-through.
What do you think of the list?