BWW Reviews: Scott-Vincent Borba's COOKING YOUR WAY TO GORGEOUS Is More Than A Celebrity How-To
Back a few years ago - well, perhaps more than a few - health food fans and organic consumers slavishly bought books on homemade organic beauty secrets, and we (yes, I admit it) slathered ourselves with self-made strawberry-oatmeal facial masques - and then, to our joy, commercial organic skincare hit the shelves. Meanwhile, we popped Vitamin E capsules, rubbed Vitamin E oil on our faces, megadosed on Vitamin C, bought commercial Vitamin C anti-wrinkle treatments, and felt virtuous, if not necessarily with superior skin and facial tone to our ignorant, chemical-slathering friends. It seemed that no matter what organic secret we had to rub on, everyone looked pretty much equal.
Why did it take this long for someone to tell us that the spinach-yogurt masque should be accompanied by a fairly easy-to-make and quite delicious spinach pie if you want to look and feel better?
COOKING YOUR WAY TO GORGEOUS by skin-care guru and author Scott-Vincent Borba (he's also helped save the world for beauty with his MAKEUP FOR DUMMIES) gives quick reminders of the natural-foods topical applications that make your face and body glow without unpronounceable chemicals in them - while at the same time explaining how and why various foods deserve to be in your body, as well, to keep the skin as well as the rest of you in good shape. While he's at it, he adds recipes.
Those of us who came of age a generation ago were fully aware then that in order to be very healthy, recipes had to be heavy and not particularly delicious. We did not have recipes for dessert Berry Blast Pizza, for Roasted Tomato and Caramelized Onion Farro Salad (gluten-free, no less), or for Cast-Iron Skillet Jalepeno Mac and Cheese. If we had, the phrase "health food" would not have needed a few decades of rehabilitation.
A book that explains how to make a banana facial treatment, lets you in on how non-beauty products from the drug store (eye drops, Epsom salt, and others) can save your skin in a pinch, and then gives an easy recipe for a pound cake with cream-cheese and ginger frosting that uses stevia as sweetener and camu (a superfruit) powder to blast it with Vitamin C, and that doesn't taste the least bit "healthy", is a revelation for many, and a useful compendium.
It's easy to be annoyed by celebrity stylists and fashionistas, but Borba's book can charm rather than irk. There's no shilling for any of his products, no celebrity-client namedropping, no soapbox "I am so healthy/fabulous/wonderful" preaching, and little to no calling for ingredients or specialty items that can only be found in New York or Los Angeles for high prices. There's plenty of advice that his one friend has to call a grape-butter recipe "purple fairy paste" to get children to try it, and on how to deal with alcohol so you can survive parties and not find a ruined face in the mirror the next morning - one suspects that bit of advice does come in handy for the celebrity clients. The writing is friendly, down-to-earth, and not condescending as so many celebrity "how to" books can be. It also helps that his assisting writer, Ali Morra-Perlman, is an experienced newspaper health and beauty writer, as well as the spouse of a plastic surgeon; one suspects that this expertise did not go to waste here.
The book is published by HCI, which has a reputable track record in inspirational, spiritual, recovery, and health books, and has published other health-driven cookbooks previously. What's most fascinating about it is that its recipes are so thoughtfully chosen - it can occupy a place on your cookbook shelf simply because the recipes are relatively simple and delicious, not because it's full of healthy advice.
While most of the general natural skin-care advice here isn't new, it's useful and in one book, along with those recipes. It's not a pioneering work, but it's a valuable reference with some great food, and that's more than enough for most of us who want to improve our looks and our health without sacrificing too much in matters of taste.