Short Order: Doin' what comes naturally

The new cookbook "Nutrilicious - Food for Thought and Whole Health," combines doable recipes with an attempt to avoid the evils of "SAD", the Standard American Diet.

When a cookbook declares itself sensitive to the soul of "the short-order cook," this column can hardly remain indifferent. In Nutrilicious - Food for Thought and Whole Health (Feldheim), Edith Rothschild combines doable recipes with an attempt to get people to avoid the evils of "SAD," the Standard American Diet. "I dare someone," she says, "to get up on a soapbox [near the supermarket] and proclaim: 'North Americans live in a salt-infested, sugar-coated, chemically-flavor-enhanced, transfatty-greased, barbecued, microwaved, ketchup splattered, styrofoamed... society, drowning in Coke and diet drinks; and for dessert they have antacid tablets, and their children have Ritalin.'" Is it really that bad? A secretary we once had at the Post, a former American, told me that she had never bought a potato; hers came powdered only, in packets, to be reconstituted with boiling water. While we Israelis are probably doing better on our "Mediterranean" diet, we shouldn't be complacent. Where America leads, Israel follows, and one can almost hear our supermarket shelves groaning with processed products that, at their worst, are more fakery than food (those instant noodle and chemical offerings in a cup, for instance). Her relentless good humor notwithstanding, Rothschild, a certified Bach Flower Remedy counselor, is in deadly earnest. After suffering from painful osteoarthritis for many years, she turned to a study of nutrition and holistic health, particularly vegetarianism, and is now sharing the benefits of her experience. Here are some recipes: HERB-ROASTED POTATOES 11⁄2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil 11⁄2 Tbsp. organic soy sauce 2 Tbsp. water 1⁄2 tsp. garlic powder 1⁄2 tsp. onion powder 2 tsp. stone-ground mustard 1 Tbsp. chopped basil, or 1 tsp. dried 1 Tbsp. chopped oregano or 1 tsp. dried 2 medium red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled, scrubbed and cut into 2.5-cm. cubes Preheat the oven to 230 . Cover a large pan with baking paper (niyyar afiya) and reserve. Put everything except the potatoes into a small bowl and mix well. Put the potatoes in a large bowl, add the herb mixture and toss until all the pieces are well coated. Transfer the potatoes to the pan, making a single layer, and bake for 20 minutes. Turn off the oven, turn the potatoes over, and leave them in the oven until they are as crisp and golden as you like. THIS IS a "green" spin on the traditional Shabbat kugel. GREEN LOKSHEN KUGEL 1 400-gr. package broad, whole-grain noodles 21⁄4 cups packed spinach 4 organic eggs, well-beaten 11⁄2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil 3⁄4 cup chopped onions 2 cloves garlic, minced 1⁄8 tsp. black pepper, or to taste 1⁄2 tsp. sea salt pinch ground nutmeg 2 Tbsp. oat bran unhulled sesame seeds for garnish (optional) Preheat the oven to 180 . Cook the noodles according to the package instructions; drain and reserve. Steam the spinach for 30 seconds, squeeze out all the liquid and chop coarsely. Saute the onion and garlic in the oil for about 5 minutes, and cool slightly. Put the noodles, spinach and sauteed onion into a large bowl, and mix well. In a medium bowl combine the beaten eggs with the pepper, salt, nutmeg and bran. Add the egg mixture to the noodle-spinach bowl, mix well and pour into a greased 33 cm. x 23 cm. x 6 cm. baking pan. Garnish liberally with sesame seeds. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. THESE PATTIES are good hot or cold, or for filling sandwiches. They can be frozen individually. CHICKPEA PATTIES 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil 1 cup finely chopped onions 1⁄3 cup finely diced carrots 1⁄2 cup finely diced celery 3⁄4 cup finely diced sweet red pepper 2 Tbsp. chopped parsley 1⁄4 tsp. garlic powder 1⁄8 tsp. ground cumin 11⁄2 to 2 Tbsp. organic soy sauce 1 cup cooked chickpeas 1⁄8 cup raw tehina Preheat the oven to 180 . Cover a medium baking pan with baking paper. Heat the oil in a large skillet and add the onion, carrot, celery, red pepper and parsley and saute for 7-8 minutes. Add the garlic powder, cumin and soy sauce, mix and saute for another 30 seconds. Process the chickpeas in a food processor with the tehina until mashed. (Scrape the side of the bowl, if needed.) Take a large bowl and combine the vegetables in the skillet with the chickpea mixture, and adjust the seasoning. Form patties about 7 cm. in diameter, place in the baking pan and bake for 12-15 minutes. Turn them over and bake for a further 10-12 minutes.