Brooklyn-based food journalist and author Peter Kaminsky celebrated the launch of his latest book, Culinary Intelligence to a private party last night in Manhattan. Spurred by what he calls his “occupational hazard” as a food writer, the book focuses on practical health tips for the gourmand. But it’s not your average dieting how-to. Kaminsky writes an evocative personal narrative about eating, cooking, and living in Brooklyn (with much travel thrown in when the job calls), all with an ingrained sense of how not to pack on the pounds. In other words, with “culinary intelligence.”
One of the main ethos of eating right, according to Kaminsky, is to seek out ingredients with the best possible “flavor per calorie.” A high FPI food, for example, might be anchovies, aged cheese, or a bar of dark chocolate over a muted, milky one. A pint of an IPA, he points out, will satisfy your taste your beer much better than three Coors Lights, and you’ll come away with significantly less caloric intake for settling on that. He candidly points out in the book his conviction that alcohol, no matter how highly caloric it might be, plays an essential part in a good meal, and life. “Life without alcohol is not really living,” he commented. However, he now moderates his intake to just one cocktail, or else one glass of wine or beer with dinner.
Over the course of researching and writing the book, Kaminsky has shed thirty pounds, even while co-writing cookbooks on desserts and barbecue. Yet most of it was done by following the everyday practice of cooking for oneself. So, how does one still manage to exercise culinary intelligence while eating out occasionally? The author has shared some of his favorite spots that offer plenty of dishes that allow you to experience all the flavor, for less calories, on their menus. Here are his picks for New York City restaurants, in no particular order. Eat and enjoy the intelligence of the chefs!