To: "'J Reyes-Montblanc'"
Subject: New York Times Article on the Go Green East Harlem Cookbook
Date: Tue, 15 Jan 2008 08:24:47 -0500
Attached for your review is a copy an article in today's New York Times Metro Section (Page B5) on Go Green East Harlem and the Go Green East Harlem Cookbook.
N.Y. / Region
Sweet Potatolicious, and Other Healthy Recipes for East Harlem
By TIMOTHY WILLIAMS
Published: January 15, 2008
East Harlem, home to a cornucopia of fried foods that cover a range ethnic tastes — tostones, chicken fried steak, pork rinds, egg rolls, refried beans, cuchifritos, French fries and onion rings, among others — has a bad reputation when it comes to good nutrition.
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Casey Kelbaugh for The New York Times
H. Candy Vives-Vasquez, of the 116th Street Block Association, contributed a recipe for sancocho, a stew, to the cookbook.
The neighborhood’s diabetes rate is 10 times higher than that on the Upper East Side; the obesity rate among children is among the highest in the city; and grocery stores that carry fresh fruits and vegetables are few and far between.
But Scott M. Stringer, the Manhattan borough president and a frequent caller at takeout restaurants, is seeking to change the neighborhood’s unhealthy eating habits, starting with a cookbook.
The “Go Green East Harlem Cookbook,” edited by Mr. Stringer, contains 68 healthy recipes for appetizers, main dishes and desserts contributed by people who live or work in East Harlem, including the chefs at Rao’s Restaurant on East 114th Street, the presidents of Mount Sinai and North General Hospitals, the director of El Museo del Barrio, and the president of the tenants association at the Wagner Houses.
The bilingual cookbook will be distributed at no cost to East Harlem residents at community events and sold in bookshops and by online bookstores for $17.95 beginning next Tuesday.
Recipes include collard greens flavored with a vegetable base and brown sugar, from MoBay Uptown restaurant; frittedda, a Sicilian fava bean stew, from the owners of Settepani Bakery; sweet potatolicious, made with sweet potatoes, pineapple and apple sauce, from Marion L. Bell, the first vice chairwoman of the Metropolitan Hospital Center’s community advisory board; Camaradas vegetarian mofongo, a dish made up of mashed fried plantains, from Camaradas el Barrio; soulful stuffed sole, from One Fish Two Fish Restaurant; creole salad with bittersweet dressing, from Creole Restaurant and Music Supper Club; and quinoa banana muffins, from Stefania Patinella, manager of the food and nutrition programs at the Children’s Aid Society.
There is also diet advice from a doctor and tips on setting up a kitchen.
“We wanted to say to people, ‘Yes, you can eat healthy, and it’s fun,’ ” Mr. Stringer said.
The recipes were reviewed for their nutritional value by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in Manhattan, and many of them contain no dairy products, are sugar free or are vegetarian.
The cookbook is part of Go Green East Harlem, an initiative by Mr. Stringer’s office to improve health in the neighborhood. Its other projects include plans for the East Harlem Asthma Center of Excellence, which will seek to reduce the area’s asthma rate by half in the next few years; construction is scheduled to begin this year. Go Green East Harlem also wants to plant hundreds of trees and is working with developers to build environmentally friendly buildings.
The cookbook, with an initial printing of 8,000 copies, was financed through the Community Fund for Manhattan, a nonprofit group run by the borough president’s office, at a cost of about $54,000. (The recipes and photographs were donated.)
H. Candy Vives-Vasquez, the executive director of the 116th Street Block Association, contributed a recipe for sancocho, a stew popular in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and elsewhere in Latin America.
While the dish often contains chicken or fish, Ms. Vives-Vasquez’s recipe calls for one and a half pounds of beef chunks, along with yucca, potatoes, corn, bell peppers, bananas and other fruits and vegetables.
Ms. Vives-Vasquez, 45, grew up eating sancocho, and she said her recipe was every bit as good as the ones submitted by the professional chefs.
“I had such a craving for it when I was pregnant with my firstborn that I ate a whole pot,” she said.
Giovanni Brecevich, co-owner of Patsy’s Pizzeria, which contributed a recipe for linguine with clam sauce, said the restaurant chose that dish because it was among the healthier items on the menu.
And then there was Rao’s. Mr. Stringer said that after his staff had landed three recipes for the cookbook from the restaurant — a place known for the difficulty in booking a table there — an aide to Mr. Stringer asked a manager there whether the borough president could get a reservation any time soon.
“Not likely,” he was told.
Said Mr. Stringer, “We got the recipe from Rao’s, but we’re never going to eat there.”