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A book review of Cookfulness: A Therapeutic Approach to Cooking (Easy Recipes You Can Cook With) by Ian Taverner

A book review of Cookfulness: A Therapeutic Approach to Cooking (Easy Recipes You Can Cook With) by Ian Taverner

Stars: ***

Clink Street Publishing (2020)
154 pages

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

Summary: This cookbook is crammed full of new and innovative ways, hints and tips, designed specifically for people with chronic pain and mental health conditions, by me, a fellow sufferer.

It is all to help you WANT to cook, not have to! Cooking really can be a therapy. Cooking really can ignite your passions. Cooking really is possible!

If you are having a bad day, I want to make it better. If you are having a better day, I want to make it good. If you are having a good day, I want to make it great. If you are having a great day, good on you!


Cookfulness is more than just a cookbook. It’s a cookbook for those who suffer from issues such as depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, arthritis, or any other condition which makes it painful or emotionally stressful to cook for themselves.

This book is a great idea. I suffer from most, possibly all of those conditions mentioned above. I manage to cook my family a meal most days but I have four children. I know people who live alone or with a roommate who never or almost never cook for themselves because of medical conditions. Living off of canned or frozen foods is not good for your health.

One important note:

This book was published in the UK and as such, contains numerous UK spellings/names or items you can easily purchase in the UK but are harder to find in North America. I mean NUMEROUS.

With many recipes I had to google to find out what rocket leaves (arugula), courgette (zucchini), rapeseed oil (canola oil in Canada), pak choi (bok choy), mange tout (snap or snow peas) or passata (tomato paste) was. Then there were the different spellings I could obviously know what they were like pitta (pita), chilli (chili) or yoghurt (yogurt). There were also things such as a note that says to make pancakes with sugar and lemon as is done traditionally. Here in Canada I’ve never heard of that. He recommends maris piper potatoes (never heard of them and apparently hard to find here) and caster sugar (same idea.) (That’s not even all the differences in the book!)

Even the directions are different. tspn and tbspn instead of tsp and tbsp. Put the oven to 200c fan which is in metric and apparently means put the fan on too. It’s interesting because I’m in Canada which technically uses metric but I’m on the border so I use Celsius AND Fahrenheit depending on the day or what I’m talking about.

I did find the book had a few actual spelling mistakes too that weren’t related to regional differences. However the book and the recipes are important and helpful enough that it makes them not too big of a deal.

In Cookfulness

The book begins with an explanation of cookfulness which is the love of cooking that will make you want to cook even when you don’t feel all that great.

The cookbook does not have photos of the dishes on purpose:

“Cookbooks often have lovely pictures of the dishes you are making, and how often are you so disappointed when yours looks nothing like it?! You then feel rubbish and want to give up. So I have taken the bold decision to NOT show photos of the final dishes! Whatever you end up with will be right!”

Cookfulness page 13

The author is also gluten free and allergic to seafood so the recipes follow this as well. However you can substitute non gluten-free products in any recipe. There are a few parts where the author mentions where a seafood item might work well there.

The author includes tips and hints for different issues the cook might have. For example hand pain (use frozen already chopped veggies), brain fog (batch cook on better days) and anxiety/pain (recipes are marked with KEY parts you need to make sure you follow and tips on making the recipes go easier.)

The Recipes

You will find the recipes divided into many sections such as: smoothies, overnight oats, eggs, anytime foods, for me/family, burgers, curries, stuffed peppers, egg fried rice, stir fries, omelette, salads, sweets, party food, cheese sauce, coleslaws, infused oils, roast potato 4 ways, marinades, salt and salad dressings.

The recipes themselves include: difficulty rating, # of servings, cooking time, preparation time, give yourself time, you will need, ingredients, method and sometimes hints & tips or ways to change.

Final Thoughts

I think it’s a great idea for a cookbook. Those with chronic pain and/or mental disorders need help to eat more healthfully. It would be better with a UK to American/Canadian translation page at the beginning or end so I wouldn’t have to google so much.

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.