A candid interview with Robyn Webb about her newest healthy comfort food cookbook
The first thing Robyn Webb says about her new cookbook is a revelation: “If you’re really good at cooking five to six recipes, that makes you a good cook!”
Once you master a basic technique or method, she says, it’s easy to swap out ingredients and add flavor twists to make something familiar yet new. “Why reinvent the wheel? You may have a gazillion recipes you’ve clipped from magazines or printed from online,” she says. “But if you don’t make them, they’re just printed words.”
Robyn knows that one of the best ways to help people get healthy food on the table is to show them how—and make it delicious. Her new cookbook, The Perfect Diabetes Comfort Food Collection (American Diabetes Association, 2016), presents nine comfort food classics, shows you the basic techniques, then suggests ingredient twists that help you make additional meals.
As an award-winning author, cooking instructor, and Diabetes Forecast food editor, Robyn wants you to get comfortable in the kitchen—and end up with delicious comfort food on your table. She also promises that by learning a few handy cooking techniques, you’ll actually save time. “If you don’t have good technique, it takes more time,” she says, and the results may not be great. “With good technique, it takes less time to produce something great.”
Robyn also speaks about the benefits of cooking—how satisfying it is to delight in your skills at making something delicious and healthy, savoring the flavor and aroma of fresh herbs, garlic and shallots, fresh ginger, and good olive oil. “Food doesn’t need to jump out of your grocery bag and appear on your plate,” she says. Give it some love.
Robyn wants you to feel confident about searing a perfect piece of chicken or boiling pasta that turns out right every time. Her tone is chatty as she gives tips on which cookware to use for the best results and how to keep your burgers juicy. “I picture myself standing in the kitchen with you,” she says. “I write the instructions the way I speak.”
Hear her talk about chicken, for example. This common and favorite lean source of protein sometimes gets a bad rap for being rubbery or too bland. Robyn comes to the rescue. She warns against using a nonstick skillet (that produces the ugliest piece of chicken, she says), cramming too many pieces into the pan (the chicken will steam and be mushy instead of developing a golden-brown crust), undercooking (not safe to eat), and overcooking (rubbery). Instead, use Robyn’s how-tos, dress that perfectly seared chicken with an easy sauce, add the simple side dishes she suggests to round out the meal, and dinner is done.
This is cooking the whole family can love. In fact, the love of family inspired the zucchini lasagna and baked ziti recipes in the book. Robyn’s mother lived with diabetes for 49 years and enjoyed sharing her delicious baked pasta. “She always had fun with a 9x13 pan and she loved bringing food to people,” Robyn says. For people with diabetes who want tasty options that fit in their carbohydrate budget, Robyn’s recipes demonstrate right-size portions of pasta—and a fun, no-noodle lasagna.
Feel free to devour the book Robyn says, but taking it slow may be the way to go. “Pick out a few things you want to get good at. Use all the variations,” she advises. “See how your friends and family respond. They’ll think you’re a genius!”
For a sneak peek at some recipes from her new book, see the Diabetes Forecast September/October issue.
Use the code PERFECT20 to save 20 percent when ordering online at shopdiabetes.org or by phone at 1-800-232-6733.
See Robyn’s other cookbooks at shopdiabetes.org. Find her on Facebook and Twitter, too.