Review: Eat Race Win (Musette Publishing)
(2019) People’s tastes go through a renaissance every couple of years. I watched in admiration as the collegiate racing team across the hall from my hotel room once annihilated dozens of chicken wings the night before a race. Meanwhile I slipped into my room with my rigid menu of night-before racing foodstuffs. I am not normally one to slink out and go for a burger, though I do request one every now and again. After years of similar cooking I have been on the lookout for chefs who have changed the cookbook field, especially related to endurance sports. Hannah Grant, a Pro Tour chef, produces her second cookbook called Eat Race Win: The Endurance Athlete’s Cookbook with Dr. Stacy Sims PhD. To show us she is on to something, Hannah Grant has even come out with an Amazon Prime series of the same title.
Like the cycling and growing season, the cookbook is split into training season sections. Since we are currently in winter, the off-season of cycling, and the season of root vegetables Hannah Grant suggests dishes of oatmeal and poached eggs. If there is a lucky pedagogue in the house, a person susceptible to getting colds regularly, Grant supplies a root/ oatmeal bowl full of wholesome ingredients. And speaking of eggs, expect a couple winter recipes with pickled eggs.
Here is another way of looking at these recipes. They are meals that need to be planned in advance but that is where I learn new cooking styles and ingredients. I have never tried cooking galettes but Grant’s suggestion of combining goat cheese, spinach, and a fried egg sounds appetizing. I have become familiar with new items because of my usage of her last book, The Grand Tour Cookbook. I suggest purchasing star of anise; Hannah Grant uses it liberally.
Sprinkled throughout the book are testimonies of riders who have found improvement through diet. Greg Lemond writes the introduction recalling his famous Tour de France time trial. He stated elsewhere his diet was a guarded entity. He was concerned people would interfere with his success by spoiling his food. Peter Sagan makes his second appearance in as many Hannah Grant books, hailing the importance of clean eating. Even our own Pennsylvanian Selene Yeager shares her thoughts about diet and endurance sports.
What you will not find, or in some parts find sparingly, are certain ingredients. Hannah Grant has taken on the challenge of making food for as many people as possible. That is, she avoids food that could activate diet intolerances. Don’t expect to see heavy bread recipes with yeast. She makes it clear she has moved mostly beyond standard bread. She avoids using gluten, dairy, and nuts where possible and has categorized each recipe as such. That is not to say that the book avoids these ingredients, Grant works to meet the many demands of the hungry endurance athletes from various grazing styles.
While there are some recognizable recipes in the book such as Eat Race Win’s version of pad thai, there are a couple of suggestions I will need some professional guidance. For example, I was shocked to find a recipe for beef tartar with egg yolk and bitter salad. A recipe using raw beef and a raw egg yolk is one of those things I will leave to the professionals. One other recipe involves octopus. Should we have visitors at the creakybottombracket.com office, rest assured those two dishes will be professionally arranged. These are all personal preferences, though.
Among the other benefits of Eat Race Win, the most lasting effect is certainly for the Western chef. Hannah Grant attempts to return athletes to seasonal items. As stated before, expect to see root vegetables in the winter, as well as leafy greens in the spring, tomatoes in the summer, and pumpkins in the fall. The Western chef has gotten away from seasonal items and with it nutrition. Sure a tomato at the market is convenient in December, but it is nowhere near as delectable as a fresh off-the-vine summer variety. Endurance athletes are driven by goals, having seasonal items grace your pantry and refrigerator is a goal worth striving for. After the success of The Grand Tour Cookbook, and for the upcoming race season, prioritize Eat Race Winas a vital piece of equipment this year. Unfortunately we cannot translate how many watts are gained by eating clean.
Eat Race Win can be found on Hannah Grant's website and is currently selling for $60 USD.