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Choose Your Food To Change Your Mood

by Steven Saunders and Simon G Brown

(Carroll & Brown, ISBN 1-903258-60-X)

I want to like this book, but I can’t help having mixed feelings about it. The subtitle is ‘Feng Shui solutions for healthy and harmonious food and mealtimes’, an admirable and potentially very handy pursuit… If only this book fully delivered.

There are some really excellent recipes here from restaurateur and TV chef Steven Saunders, dishes like Chocolate and Pineapple Ravioli with Pistachio Parfait and Mango Coulis. Feng shui expert Simon G Brown also offers some quality feng shui basics, with tips for good kitchen layouts as well as a clear table of yin and yang ingredients. But there’s also quite a bit of print that seems like New Age wooliness dressed up as information. For instance, there’s a sweeping statement about oranges being great for Africans whereas root vegetables are preferable for northern Europeans. Now oranges are not my favourite fruit, and I also have major reservations about the air miles necessary to get them into my fruit salad. However, concepts about macrobiotics and local food principles don’t seem to have been fully explored… How about northern Europeans in August on the beach in Devon? Or Africans taking shelter from a torrential rainstorm? Plus how come there are many exotics recommended throughout this book, including tamarillos, tuna and wasabi?

That said, there is a lot of well considered nutritional and feng shui advice here if you’re careful to take it with a good pinch of yang salt. There are top tips on assessing a restaurant’s feng shui plus planning your home for parties, weddings and other festive occasions. But they are confused with rules and regulations that are simply begging to be broken. An example is the Family Harmony section that recommends serving “foods that will not be extreme in terms of yin and yang and that are not overly stimulating or spicy.” But what if the family seeking harmony are British Asians?!

Tread carefully, and you’ll be rewarded…

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