Eat, Run, Enjoy: Recipes for Running Performance and Pleasure, by Billy White. Bloomsbury, 2021. Reviewed by trail runner Laura Clark. Laura is an avid mountain, trail and snowshoe runner who lives in Saratoga Springs, NY, where she is a children’s librarian. Images by Patrik Engström.
Initially, many folks explore running as a means to lose or maintain weight while still being able to eat the foods they enjoy. And while all runners love to eat and discuss favorite recipes with their friends, eventually the running portion becomes paramount and enjoying delicious food is seen more as an adjunct to fueling for sport. A similar evolution occurred with Billy White, now head chef at Rosendals Tradgard in Stockholm, Sweden, who discovered running in 2011. As with many of us, running suited his frantic work and family schedule and he embraced the training aspect where the journey is just as important as the ultimate goal.
While Eat, Run, Enjoy offers over 80 recipes, many vegan and vegetarian, it is so much more than a simple cookbook. Billy White visits, runs with and cooks for notable ultra runners from the United Kingdom, the United States and Sweden, exploring Denver trails with Courtney Dauwalter, Lake District fell running with Ricky Lightfoot, Barr Camp with Zach Miller and enjoying a Swedish archipelago run with Emelie Forsberg, Ida Nilsson and Mimmi Kotka.
No slouch to the running scene, White is able to keep up with these world-class runners on their “easy” expeditions, and at the same time ply them with meaningful questions about cooking and training. All are foodies and take proper fueling as seriously as they do their training. After each adventure, White prepares a sample meal, involving everyone in the preparation. But more than that, he details how and why he selected the particular ingredients, taking into account individual preferences and local availability.
[PRO TIP: You can explore Barr Camp and the trail up Pikes Peak with Google Streetview thanks to ATRA’s 2017 Pikes Peak Trekker project. Zach Miller is pictured in the Streetview image above (far left).
I especially enjoyed his stint at the isolated Barr Camp hiking lodge, halfway up Pikes Peak, where perishables need to be backpacked from town on a roughly (in good weather) three hour uphill hike. You had better believe weight, nutrition and caloric value are fully calculated! Basic supplies are hauled a few times a year by the Pikes Peak COG Railway and Patrick Engstrom’s carefully crafted photos reveal the skill with which these everyday supplies, stored on open wooden shelving, contribute to the atmosphere in the cabin, just as much as the cozy fireplace.
Similar care is given to the picnic White hosts for the three Scandinavian runners, where breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day. Not only are these ladies world class athletes, but knowledgeable sources. Emelie manages a sustainable farm and is the author of another must-read, Sky Runner: Finding Strength, Happiness, and Balance in Your Running, replete with stunning photos, advice and delicious food. Ida is a professional chef and Mimmi holds a master’s degree in food science. The breakfast White concocted on this chilly fall morning was grilled on portable equipment, served on a rock outcropping and included mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, tortillas and porridge. I so wanted to be there! But thanks to the included recipes, you are welcome to recreate your own picnic adventure with friends.
The “enjoy” factor, however, extends well beyond the run. The book itself is a sensual pleasure to hold with its heavy cover and rough-edged feel, with the pages thick enough to suggest elegance and still silky smooth to facilitate browsing. Each recipe is given its own spread, with the finished product displayed as artfully as it would be on any dinner table, looking good enough to eat. It is one thing to discover an interesting recipe, but quite another to follow through on the directions and present your creation to its best advantage. With this book you can achieve both.
Happy running, enjoyable eating and remember this book when choosing a gift for your favorite runner. The gift that will keep on giving.