I stay away from the trendy-hype cookbooks that make grandiose health or diet claims or promise a five-day or five-week fix. But a cookbook by Nina Simonds that offers "Simple and Delicious Recipes for Great Health" is another matter. Simonds has written nine books on Chinese cuisine and culture, including the multi-award-winning A Spoonful of Ginger, and has made the Asian approach to food sustenance, sensory delight and the sensible way to promote good health accessible and achievable for overworked, over-stressed, fast-food-inundated Americans (and that probably includes all of us!). Her latest, Spices of Life, extends beyond Asian cooking with 160 recipes inspired by her travels through Asia and Europe, and many family favorites from her son Jesse's Crispy-Baked Potato Pancakes to Hoisin Turkey Thighs with Squash, Portuguese Clam Stew, Curried Coconut Sweet Potatoes and "therapeutic" Spiced Pears in red wine. Sprinkled among the recipes are interviews with leading authorities on health-restoring foods doctors Jim Duke, Andrew Weil, U.K. Krishna and David Heber among them. Sidebars offer info on the nutritional benefits of ingredients, as well as their traditional Chinese and Indian values. Nina Simonds wants you to have it all "The pleasures of the table as well as excellent, long-lasting health."

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