- With Mayo Clinic nutritionists
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.read biographyclose window
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.Katherine Zeratsky and Jennifer Nelson
Jennifer K. Nelson, M.S., R.D., L.D., C.N.S.D.
Jennifer Nelson is your link to a better diet. As specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, she plays a vital role in bringing you healthy recipes and meal planning.
"Nutrition is one way people have direct control over the quality of their lives," she says. "I hope to translate the science of nutrition into ways that people can select and prepare great-tasting foods that help maintain health and treat disease."
A St. Paul, Minn., native, she has been with Mayo Clinic since 1978, and is director of clinical dietetics and an associate professor of nutrition at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.
She leads clinical nutrition efforts for a staff of more than 60 clinical dietitians and nine dietetic technicians and oversees nutrition services, staffing, strategic and financial planning, and quality improvement. Nelson was co-editor of the "Mayo Clinic Diet" and the James Beard Foundation Award-winning "The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook." She has been a contributing author to and reviewer of many other Mayo Clinic books, including "Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight for EveryBody," "The Mayo Clinic Family Health Book" and "The Mayo Clinic/Williams Sonoma Cookbook." She contributes to the strategic direction of the Food & Nutrition Center, which includes creating recipes and menus, reviewing nutrition content of various articles, and providing expert answers to nutrition questions.
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
As a specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, Katherine Zeratsky helps you sort through the facts and figures, the fads and the hype to learn more about nutrition and diet.
A Marinette, Wis., native, she is certified in dietetics by the state of Minnesota and the American Dietetic Association. She has been with Mayo Clinic since 1999.
She's active in nutrition-related curriculum and course development in wellness nutrition at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and nutrition related to weight management and practical applications of nutrition-related lifestyle changes.
Other areas of interest include food and nutrition for all life stages, active lifestyles and the culinary arts.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, served a dietetic internship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and worked as a registered dietitian and health risk counselor at ThedaCare of Appleton, Wis., before joining the Mayo Clinic staff.
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June 18, 2010
Hit the books: Choosing the right cookbook
By Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.
Last week I had to go through my large cookbook collection and downsize. I knew which ones were like old friends — too dear to part with. Quite a few, however, were more like groupies — just hanging around and taking up space. They could go.
As I sorted through my books, I got to thinking — what makes a cookbook great? Here's what I look for in a cookbook:
- Recipes plus techniques. A cookbook will teach you techniques, whereas a recipe book is simply a collection of recipes. I like a book that offers both.
- Practical. I look for familiar ingredients, easy methods and quick recipes. I also look for cookbooks that teach me something new — like how to make great low-fat sauces. Finally, I want a cookbook to have a great table of contents or index so I can readily find the recipe I want.
- Appetizing. It can be tough to judge this before you buy. However, when I read recipes I think about the flavor combinations — are they interesting or weird? And are there enough recipes in the book that I want to try?
- Healthy. Are most of the recipes based on fresh ingredients? Do they emphasize plant foods (vegetables, fruit, beans/legumes, whole grains)? Are they low in fat and sugar? I also like recipes that provide nutrient information, such as calories, fat, sodium and fiber, at a minimum.
- Trustworthy. Who's the author? A good cook? A known authority on health? Ideally, a good cook has partnered with a health expert.
- Bonus features. Added pluses are suggestions for substitute ingredients, different cooking techniques for the same recipe (stove versus oven versus grill), and photos or illustrations. I also look for books that address specific health concerns, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and celiac disease.
What about recipe websites, you ask. I'm not quite ready to abandon cookbooks and go totally online, but I've bookmarked a number of sites that meet the above criteria. I find that cooking sites are especially helpful when I'm searching for recipes that use a specific ingredient — for example, new ways to cook boneless skinless chicken breast or what to do with all the garden veggies I just picked.
What do you think makes a cookbook great? What are some of you favorites — and why?
I'll be interested in hearing from you!
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