The Dude Diet: Clean(ish) Food for People Who Like to Eat Dirty

The Dude Diet by Serena Wolf (WildmooBooks)

I’m not much of a cook. Neither is my wife. We have some fancier recipes in our repertoire, but for the most part we like pizza, mac & cheese, dogs in blankets, etc. We’re both 50 year old women, but eat like we’re teenagers and it shows on the waistline. Hence, my interest in this book.

When I was a bookseller one of the sections that I tried to avoid was food and cooking. For one thing, the books are usually oversized and heavy (spend a couple hours organizing such a section to see what I mean by heavy). The section was also chronically overflowing with new titles and newfangled subsections regularly popped up to complicate matters. It was a bitch to keep organized.

Then one day a coworker told me that her bedtime reading was cookbooks. Yes, she actually read cookbooks in bed at bedtime. I thought that was weird (and still do), but it made me see cookbooks as more approachable. Now, after spending time looking through The Dude Diet, I kind of get it. I was actually in bed last night looking through it to choose something to make this weekend, which made me remember my coworker.

Serena Wolf (WildmooBooks)
Wolf studied at Le Cordon Blue Paris

The recipes in The Dude Diet are familiar dishes with standard, non-frightening ingredients. The book starts out with some backstory on how The Dude Diet was born and offers basic nutritional information and guidance. There’s a helpful chapter on pantry essentials–from oils and spices to suggestions on actual cookware and tools. After that the food begins:

  • Badass Breakfasts
  • The Classics (Mac & Cheese, Burgers, Lasagna, etc)
  • Game Day Eats (Buffalo Chicken Tenders, Tacos, Quesadillas, Dogs, etc)
  • On the Grill
  • Serious Salads
  • Take-out Favorites (Lettuce Wraps, Sesame-Orange Chicken, Pad Thai, Pizza, etc)
  • Sexy Sides
  • Back-pocket Recipes (Easy and reliable recipes like Idiotproof Chicken Breasts)
  • Chronic Cocktails
  • Sweetness (Desserts! I will be making the Dark Chocolate Power Bark asap)

The textbook size and quality of this book is appealing (not too big, not too small, and seems like it’ll hold up well from heavy use) and I really like the photography by Matt Armendariz. He makes the food look real, tasty, and unpretentious.

I had planned on making a few of these recipes and including pretty (or disastrous) action photos with this post, but last month’s unexpected arrival of Buddy Fitzwilliam, our new 50 pound puppy, derailed my kitchen plans (I blame everything on Buddy these days). But I do have post-it notes on multiple pages and plan on doing more cooking this winter, so you might actually start seeing foodish photos on this blog in the future.

Title: The Dude Diet: Clean(ish) Food for People Who Like to Eat Dirty
Author: Serena Wolf
Publisher: HarperCollins 2016
Source: Review copy from TLC Book Tours

Bottom line: Serena Wolf is a chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu Paris. Her simple recipes with standard ingredients make this a great cookbook for beginners or for busy folks looking to cook healthier yet tasty versions of fast food favorites.

TLC Book Tours Host (WildmooBooks)


  1. I've been intrigued by this book. I do hope your winter cooking makes it to your blog so that I can see and hear first-hand experiences with these recipes.

    What kind of dog is Buddy?

  2. Haha, I'm one of those weirdos who likes reading cookbooks for fun, even if I'm not ready to try any of the recipes. A really well-done cookbook has almost a narrative feel to it, even if it doesn't include many actual stories.

    Also, I politely request — nay, DEMAND — more puppy pics. ^__^

  3. If Buddy allows you time to cook I'd love to hear what you made and what worked from this book. Like you, I'm not much of a cook but am always looking for something new to try.

  4. That's interesting about a good cookbook having a narrative feel. I never thought of that or heard anyone say that (not that many friends talk with me about cookbooks as they know my proclivities). You've expanded my nascent cookbook interest. More puppy pics coming soon! 🐾❤️🐾

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