A Return to Loveliness

By on June 18, 2012

Simple Pleasures
by Cornelia Guest

I was simply delighted by the opportunity to review this intriguing cookbook. I am not a ‘vegan’ but I do appreciate the importance and value of eating well.

I began to read Cornelia’s cookbook and could not put it down. This is more than a cookbook, it is a lifestyle book. Even more than that, as I continued to read I had the distinct impression that I was sitting across my dining room table over a cup of green tea with Cornelia and she was sharing, in her delightful, original way, her passion for animals, ‘cruelty-free’ eating, easy entertaining, elegant living and  sprinkled throughout interesting and useful tips from some of her friends.

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As Cornelia wrote in her introduction, ‘this book is about natural elegance, wholesome eating, and effortless entertaining… Simple Pleasures will show you that fresh vegetables, beans, and grains are delicious, affordable, and easy to make. You don’t have to be a vegan to enjoy the wonderful seasonal recipes in this book’. Perhaps it is because I’ve reached that phase of my life where the French define  ‘Une femme d’un certain âge’ that I appreciate certain things a bit more – my God, my family, my health, my time, and my outlook on life. Each day is a precious gift and we as women have the ability to bring about beauty, serenity and well-being to our homes – I am truly convinced that the home – the life within is the reflection of the woman.

Adopting healthy, nutritious eating habits is important for us and our families.

So, as I continued to read – before getting to the recipes Cornelia shared three lifestyle guidelines –

Easy Elegance

Given some thought for a moment, how would you define – ‘Easy Elegance’?

This outlook encompasses every aspect of Cornelia’s life – and she shares her foundational teaching from her gifted mother, C. Z. Guest, Katie Monahan Prudent ((riding instructor), Halston and Andy Warhol. Each one imparted lifestyle philosophies to Cornelia that translated into her definition of ‘easy elegance and great style’.

Wholesome Eating

In our time, we have at our disposal a dizzying array of products and foods. A great deal of these products come from far away lands and from commercial enterprises where the produce has been altered to last longer on the shelf, preserved against damage from elements and insects etc…Some of these procedures remain in the product and are not good for our health. As a result, organic foods and locally-grown produce have become more attractive to us. We also realize that eating more fruits and vegetables is beneficial to us and to our families. If you are not interested in becoming a vegan or following the ‘cruelty-free’ lifestyle, then you will still benefit from the information and recipes provided by Cornelia to expand your menu with incredibly beautiful, seasonal and delicious recipes. Perhaps you could follow in Cornelia’s friend’s footsteps by incorporating, ‘Meatless Mondays’ into your dining routine.

Effortless Entertaining

We all entertain from time to time and know that the preparing and decorating process can be somewhat daunting and taxing to ourselves.

Cornelia shares her motto for entertaining along with some very practical tips from planning a party to setting a lively table. Following this introductory conversation, Cornelia divides her recipes seasonally. She includes a list of  seasonal vegetables, garden ideas, tips, as well as a seasonal menu including drink, appetizer, entree and dessert. Sprinkled throughout her book are intriguing and useful ‘tips’ such as Jeff Deperon’s Bliss Smoothie filled with ingredients that promote ‘feelings of well-being, focus, and quiet energy’;  Publisher of the beautiful magazine ‘Flower’, Margot Shaw’s tips on seasoning your home and table and Joanna Vargas tips on organic skincare products and cosmetics among many more. All of these things make Cornelia Guest’s book, Simple Pleasures – Healthy  Seasonal Cooking and Easy Entertaining a worthwhile book to own, but this book is just as beautiful as it is useful. The photography and illustrations are wonderful. I plan on getting several copies for my family and friends – I know they will find as I did there are beautiful nuggets of inspiration as well as beautiful recipes that I will return to time and time again.

Grilled Corn and Avocado Salad
By Cornelia Guest, Author of Cornelia Guest’s Simple Pleasures: Healthy Seasonal Cooking and Easy Entertaining

Serves 6
Total time: 25 minutes

There is nothing like sweet summer corn. This pairing is smooth and crunchy, colorful, and totally delicious.

  • 4 ears of corn, shucked
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt

1. Heat a grill to medium-high. Grill corn, rotating often, until lightly charred, about 15 minutes

2. Let cool slightly. Carefully cut kernels from cobs.

3. Gently toss corn kernels with avocado, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, and salt. Serve right away.

The above is an excerpt from the book Cornelia Guest’s Simple Pleasures: Healthy Seasonal Cooking and Easy Entertaining by Cornelia Guest. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.
© 2012 Cornelia Guest, author of Cornelia Guest’s Simple Pleasures: Healthy Seasonal Cooking and Easy Entertaining


Originally posted on A Delightsome Life.

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A Return to Loveliness