Betty Rosbottom has been a cooking teacher, columnist, and cookbook author for two decades. Her recently published book Sunday Brunch – the third in her Sunday cookbook series. We talked to Rosbottom about the importance of cooking with fresh, healthy ingredients without compromising taste.
This article orginally appeared on Food, Nutrition & Science.
Betty Rosbottom has been a cooking teacher, columnist, and cookbook author for two decades. Her recently published book Sunday Brunch – the third in her Sunday cookbook series – provides a year’s worth of brunch recipes ranging from eggs to waffles to beverages. We talked to Rosbottom about the importance of cooking with fresh, healthy ingredients without compromising taste.
What is the main focus of your cooking?
I like to prepare familiar dishes and give them a new twist or update. For example, in a recent book, Sunday Roasts, I created a recipe for Mini-Wellingtons. In place of the foie gras and mushroom duxelles that are traditional toppings for the pastry-enclosed beef fillet, I used caramelized onions, a hint of mustard, and a little Gruyere, and made this dish as individual Wellingtons instead of one large one. Most of all, I want to give my readers recipes that are clearly written and result in their having a success in the kitchen.
Is there a particular nutritional focus of your menus?
No, but over the years, I have upped my use of olive oil and lowered my use of butter, and I’ve become aware of other nutritional concerns – hydrogenated oils, too much salt, etc.
What is your relationship with local farmers?
I am lucky to live in Amherst in western Massachusetts where there are many terrific farmers and many farmers’ markets. From May to early November, I buy as much produce as possible from our town’s farmers’ market.
Are you incorporating locally grown foods into your dishes? How?
Yes, all the time. I go to the grocery and look at what is fresh and local and incorporate it into my menus. Right now I feel like I’m in asparagus heaven because the Pioneer Valley where I live is known as the asparagus capital of the country, and the season is well under way with local spears in all the stores.
What are the major concerns today of your readers? And how are you addressing them?
Most people want to lose some extra weight, but don’t want to give up flavor in their food. I try to lower fats when it is feasible, and I also try to balance menus by pairing dishes that might be high in calories with others that are healthier.
How important is sustainability?
Very important. For me sustainability is about not wasting anything. I use leftovers in my fridge to make new dishes, and often I like the second interpretation better! I turn lights out when I'm not in the kitchen, and I am trying to use more glass refrigerator containers and wean myself from plastic. I do have a large outdoor herb garden (where no chemicals are used) which I pick from daily during our warm weather.
What steps do you take toward conservation in your meal planning?
I buy local and try not to waste food. I take reusable bags for packing groceries to the market, and I separate cartons and glass for special pick up by our town.