The Back in the Swing Cookbook - Barbara Unell and Judith Fertig

Released August 2012

Barbara Unell
Judith Fertig
Andrews McMeel

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

The Back in the Swing Cookbook is not only a cookbook designed for breast cancer survivors, but it's also a cookbook suitable to anyone looking to improve their diet. So far, I've tested one recipe, it's all I had on hand for ingredients, and it was a winner!

I grew up in a neighborhood where moms stayed home and generally if you got into trouble, more than one "mom" caught on. Getting away with anything was difficult. One of those "moms" lost her battle with breast cancer. I still remember the last time I saw her. I was Christmas shopping, she'd just gotten the all-clear from her doctor and was overjoyed. Five months later, I learned she'd died. The cancer had come back, in her liver this time. It broke my heart. I know during chemo and radiation that fried rice was the only food she could keep down. The rest of the time, she was a great cook and I think she would have loved this book.

The Back in the Swing Cookbook starts with desserts. A nice touch because dessert doesn't have to be bad. The other sections are:

Salads/Side Dishes
Main Courses

Some recipes immediately jumped out at me and have me hitting the grocery store today. The Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Pineapple-Cream Cheese Frosting are first on my list. They sound great and unlike most recipes, the authors use items like honey in place of sugar.  In fact, there is a solid section on sweeteners, such as stevia, agave nectar, and then the artificial sweeteners I avoid like sucralose and saccharin.

Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts with Artichoke Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto and Asparagus is the dish I plan to make tonight. These are only the start. There's a banana nut bread/cake recipe that sounded amazing, and a lemony chicken dish served with a side of quinoa. I'm iffy on the quinoa though. I had it once and it was so horribly bitter that no one could eat it. I'm not sure if it was outdated leading to the bitterness, we bought it at a local health food store, so I don't think that's the case. I'll likely substitute couscous instead.

After many recipes are Q&As, quotes from cancer survivors, and informational tidbits about the benefits of certain foods, exercises, or healthy living practices. This turns it from being a total cookbook into an informative and supportive guide.

If you are a breast cancer survivor or know one, The Back in the Swing Cookbook is a must. It's earning a place on my keeper shelf.


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