Dr. Gigi Berardi, a professor at Western’s Huxley College of the Environment, first started writing her new book, “FoodWISE: A Whole Systems Guide to Sustainable and Delicious Food Choices,” about 10 years ago.
“I had a few quarters of professional leave, and I wanted to write a book that was part memoir, part history of food, part beliefs about food,” Berardi says. Her main inspirations were her students, friends, family, and anyone with what Berardi terms “fierce food beliefs.”
“We live in a culture awash with advice about nutrition and eating. Who do we believe, how do we sort through the conflicting information, and in the end, how do we decide for ourselves what we buy, cook, and eat? Addressing these questions was my motivation for the book.”
In “FoodWISE,” Berardi explores various diets and ways of choosing food, and seeks to offer a simpler method. “WISE is an acronym: whole, informed, sustainable, experienced—and it’s meant to help guide our decisions about food,” Berardi explains.
Although the book offers recipes and guidance on how to select wholesome, nutritious foods, those seeking a traditional dieting book may
want to look somewhere else.
“I try not to use the word ‘healthy’ in the book,” Berardi says. “It’s just too loaded a term. For many, it translates into ‘lowfat,’ and that’s not what the book is about … it’s a book on how to sort through all the conflicting information that’s out there.”
The book has received rave reviews from food journalists, executive chefs, and scientists alike. In September, Forbes published an article listing “FoodWISE” among 19 food-related books recommended by a think tank. “Support for the book has been really heartening,” Berardi says.
To celebrate the book’s launch date, Berardi will read at the downtown Community Food Co-op on January 14 at 6:30 p.m. Additional readings and events will continue into the spring, at Twin Sisters Brewing Company, Village Books in Fairhaven, and at Nicki’s Bella Marina for a talk with Whatcom Writers and Publishers.
To get an idea of what you’ll find in “FoodWISE,” here’s one of the author’s favorite recipes:
Prep time: 1 hour
You’ll notice that each of the five species of Pacific salmon goes by at least two common names. A typical whole fillet might be about 1–1½ pounds, or more if the species of salmon is larger. A king/chinook is larger than a coho/ silver, which typically is bigger than a red/sockeye
salmon—and their fillets will be correspondingly different in size. If the fish are harvested and handled well, the less fatty (and less expensive) fish like chum/keta and pinks/humpies are a good Whole, Informed, Sustainable—and affordable—choice.
I like to use marinades for fish, but depending on how fresh and flavorful the fish is, you may want to omit them. Here’s a favorite marinated salmon recipe, cooked en papillote (in paper) to effectively steam the fish.
- A large mixing bowl
- one large-sized baking dish
- parchment paper
- 2 medium lemons, juiced (about 4 tbsp)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup melted butter
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tbsp dill weed
- 2 8-oz salmon fillets, rinsed (with skin)
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- Additional herbs, for cooking: fresh rosemary and sage sprigs (or ½ tsp each, dried)
Mix all ingredients (lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, melted butter, cayenne pepper, and dill weed) except additional herbs in a large mixing bowl.
- Add fillets and marinate for 30 minutes, turning at least once.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Remove fillets from marinade and place skin side down onto parchment paper in a clean baking dish.
- Sprinkle fish with salt, pepper, rosemary, and sage.
- Bring up the sides of the parchment paper; I wrap the fish by simply folding it over the fish and tucking under any loose ends.
- Bake on the lowest rack of the oven for about 20 minutes. Fish is done when the meat flakes.
For more like this, visit our Dine section here.