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Book Reviews

The Recipes of Champions

by Martin Glynn et al.

Scandalous politics and cheating aside, at its very purest, the modern Olympic spirit reaches lofty heights of idealism. As track coach Andy Higgins writes in his introduction to The Recipes of Champions, “every single one of us, …because we are human, has been given one equal, and magnificent gift. It is the gift of a dream. What we do with that gift is our choice.”

What follows these inspirational words is a very practical reality: a cookbook created by athlete Martin Glynn to raise money for UNICEF. The collection takes recipes and nutritional advice from Canadian athletes such as Elvis Stojko and synchronized swimmer Sylvie Fréchette and presents them in an attractive, orderly fashion.

Each contributed recipe – neatly organized by category to make the cookbook useful – is accompanied by a short résumé of personal achievement in sport, academics, family, and community service. Here, readers will learn that softball catcher Carrie Fleming volunteers for Vancouver City Police’s victim services, and that marathon runner May Allison juggles her training with the schedules of her two pre-school daughters. There is an altogether homey reality to the recipes presented here: balancing very busy lives with a need for optimal health and nutrition.

Selections include a number of vegetarian dishes, lots of quick pastas, and a variety of training snacks such as energy bars and muesli. Each is annotated with nutritional data and personal eating tips (one diver says eating seafood makes her “dive like a fish”). Since the recipes come from people with quotidian concerns, it is a very good choice for a family cookbook or an excellent gift for those just starting out on their own. Many of these convenient dishes are also economical to prepare.

The ingredients and methods reflect an essentially middle-class, Anglo-Saxon Canadian cuisine. Canadian Olympians are not the most diverse group of people. Italian ingredients are popular in dishes such as lasagne and pizza, and there is a recipe for curried lentils, as well as a barley and hamburger dish cooked in V-8 juice (“Mark and John’s Healthy Meal”) and suggestions on how to use cream-style corn and Velveeta. The Recipes of Champions could very well yield an old standby or two to cook repeatedly in years to come.