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Jane Brody: Healthy Food Can Be Tasty and Attractive

October 24, 1986

NEW YORK (AP) _ You probably know the food you eat should be more nutritious, but you may not know how to make it that way.

You won’t be able to cook up any more excuses, however, if you watch ″Good Health From Jane Brody’s Kitchen,″ a public television series beginning Saturday.

″The idea was to show people that cooking healthfully is easy, it’s fun and the product both looks and tastes good,″ Brody, a best-selling author whose columns on health appear in The New York Times and more than 100 other newspapers, said in an interview.

In each of the 10 half-hour segments, Brody and a guest expert take on fat, fiber, cooking for company, weight control or another topic. They discuss the role of diet in health and explain the effects of foods on the body. A meal, dessert included, is prepared to go along with each theme.

A jogger, swimmer and cyclist, Brody said she considers exercise ″a dietary requirement no matter how healthfully you eat″ and devotes one segment to working out. The foods on that show include lentil and brown rice soup and guest Dr. Jere Mitchell’s ″Compleat Exerciser’s Gazpacho.″

Brody said she knows of no other series that has wedded health and nutrition to the familiar cooking demonstration format.

″We’re trying to show people that cooking from scratch need not be difficult and that eating health food doesn’t mean sacrificing delicious flavors,″ Brody said.

Indeed, the foods prepared in the first two segments appear very easy, and Brody takes nothing for granted. When Irish soda bread is prepared, Brody explains that the caraway seeds called for in the recipe are the seeds found in rye bread.

″We wanted people to relate to what they already know,″ Brody said. And, she said, the information will be new to many people.

″I really am very concerned about the number of people who don’t cook anything,″ she said.

The series, which grew from Brody’s latest book, ″Jane Brody’s Good Food Book,″ may be of less interest to the experienced cook, though everyone probably can pick up tips for adapting recipes to use less salt and fat or more fiber.

The nutrition information is specific (why some fish seems to protect against heart disease, the composition of table salt, what foods provide calcium) and presented so it’s easy to remember. For example, Brody calls fiber the ″Roto-Rooter of the digestive tract.″

One gimmick is a character named Jack, a rather corny foil to Brody’s health messages but a recognizeable fellow who salts his food before tasting it and tries to make up for poor eating habits with vitamin pills.

Other sketches, however, are more charming as well as informative. In one, the series’ producer, Gay Parrish, talks with New York City fishmongers about buying fresh fish.

One drawback is that Brody appears separately from her guests, so there’s no conversation. She said time prevented them from getting together, and it’s too bad. But the guests do help move the show along by preparing some of their own recipes.

″Good Health,″ produced by KERA in Dallas, was financed by the Hillcrest Foundation, Campbell Soup Co. and American General Corp.

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