cover image Dining with the Duchess: Making Everyday Meals a Special Occasion

Dining with the Duchess: Making Everyday Meals a Special Occasion

Sarah Ferguson, Duchess Of York Ferguson, Weight Watchers International. Simon & Schuster, $25 (224pp) ISBN 978-0-684-84915-7

The author, the former wife of Britain's Prince Andrew and mother of two children, is an official spokesperson for Weight Watchers, the weight management organization. When she was a royal, the Duchess's problems with weight were widely publicized. Attributing her success at weight loss to Weight Watchers (and friends), she adds personal narratives to 125 recipes that mix healthful eating and good taste with considerable panache. Arranged in menus (e.g., Cocktails at Six, A Simple Pasta Dinner, Holiday Buffet), a few suggestions are unexceptional (Genoa Canapes, slices of salami and mustard on party rye; Baby Lamb Chops broiled with garlic and salt). Many, however, yield appealing, uncomplicated fat-reduced dishes: a rolled Turkey Breast with Cremini Mushrooms and Leeks; Risotto di Pavia with asparagus, sherry, shallots and Parmesan cheese; Individual Ginger-Peach Soufflee made with dried peaches and egg whites. Convenience sometimes reigns (Celebration Birthday Cake uses a reduced-fat cake mix and canned frosting). But most recipes, sprinkled with suggestions for serving and substitutions, call for a reasonable number of fresh ingredients that can be combined in straightforward techniques. All come with nutritional analyses and points, the Weight Watchers unit of measurement. The Duchess's commentary is somewhat self-absorbed but will undoubtedly interest readers who follow the royals. (Feb.)