Monday, May 2, 2016

Book Review: Jeane Dixon's Astrological Cookbook

(Blogjob tags: cookbookcookbook that makes cooks laugh out loudexperiment with herbsfood and astrologynewspaper horoscope columnvariety of plant-based foods.)

Title: Jeane Dixon’s Astrological Cookbook
Author: Jeane Dixon
Date: 1976
Publisher: William Morrow & Company
ISBN: 0-688-03091-2
Length: 233 pages
This book starts out just the way skeptics feared, with a list of “astrological foods for each decan,” and during some “decans” some signs aren't assigned much to eat. Dixon’s system recognizes Neptune and Uranus as possible “governing bodies,” but assigns only “pine nuts, lavender” to Neptune and no foods to Uranus (insert “Uranus” joke of choice here).
Fortunately, Dixon goes on to recommend a balanced, plant-based diet with less meat and more interesting vegetables than many Americans were eating in 1976, more like the food pyramid recommended by dietitians today. Some recipes come out a bit on the granola side, and some are pretty basic—the first recipe in the book explains how to stir a quarter-teaspoon of basil into canned tomato soup and garnish with yogurt, or sour cream. Most will be delicious if you have garden-fresh vegetables.
Astrological introductions to “your” birthday menu can be as hilarious as reading your daily horoscope, in the newspaper, at the end of the day. I was surprised to learn that I “have a passion for haute cuisine,” and “Everything...must be expertly prepared, elegantly served.” (I often work until my stomach growls and reluctantly, leaving my mind at the job, go and warm some beans in the tin.) It was also a surprise that I “pay as much attention to an artistically set table...as...the food itself,” since my idea of “an artistically set table” is a table with the morning mail and newspapers cleared away and the seasonings set back in the middle. After that, it wasn’t much of a surprise that my list of special birthday treat foods begins with wheat, which my body doesn’t digest at all.
Friends who live in Maryland and spend as much time on the water as possible don’t get Dixon’s insight, “[Y]ou love to live and work near the water...fish is paramount in your diet.” Friends who’ve spent most of their lives in landlocked areas get that. Well...the fish recipes are decent, anyway.
If you’re skeptical about astrology, I doubt very much that Jeane Dixon’s Astrological Cookbook will cause you to start taking astrology seriously. But it might inspire you to try cooking a wider variety of plant-based foods, “seasoning” the dull canned vegetables with a fresh herb rather than with fat or meat, and serving herb tea instead of coffee, wine, or soda pop, if you've not been doing those things before.
For almost all of us, this book can be very helpful. The astrology is a hoot. Laughing about the disparities between what Dixon predicts you’ll like, and what you actually like, will probably be good for your digestion.
Jeane Dixon no longer needs $1, and the minimum price here is still $5 per copy + $5 per package for shipping, + $1 for online payment. You may find better prices for this book elsewhere. However, if you buy it here, you can add two or three other books (which might be Fair Trade Books) to the package, thus supporting a living writer and making the price for the total purchase much more competitive.