Having watched the slow cognitive decline of my mother-in-law a few years ago, I was highly interested in learning all I could from this cookbook.  According to the front flap of the book, the foods we choose to eat (or not) sit at the core of the Alzheimer’s epidemic. Those are powerful and hope-filled words!  Author and chef Annie Fenn, MD, makes a compelling case for this thinking in The Brain Health Kitchen Cookbook. 

Preventing Alzheimer’s Through Food:

The Brain Health Kitchen Cookbook

My thanks to Hachette Book Group for the complimentary copy of The Brain Health Kitchen Cookbook. All opinions are my own. 

About The Brain Health Kitchen Cookbook by Annie Fenn, MD:

Publisher: Artisan/Date Published: January 2023/Hardcover/400 pages/Genre:Cooking, Healing

The very first page of this cookbook has this important note: “This book is intended as a cookbook, not medical material.” I’m going to treat it as such and review it as a cookbook. Please discuss any dietary changes with your healthcare providers. 


In The Brain Health Kitchen Cookbook, Annie Fenn, a physician and chef identifies the top ten brain-smart ingredients and shows that eating to maintain brain health is easy, accessible, delicious, and necessary for everyone.

Scientific studies show that there are ten foods with powerful neuroprotective properties. Most of us are familiar with them from the Mediterranean diet, which I loosely follow. Dr. Annie Fenn takes a much more targeted approach, beginning with 100 recipes that incorporate brain-healthy foods into every meal of the day. She explains it in her very helpful food pyramid;

The Brain Health Kitchen Pyramid:

The Brain Health Kitchen Pyramid

The author states that the foods we choose to eat (or not) sit at the core of the Alzheimer’s epidemic. In The Brain Health Kitchen, readers will learn exactly how making the right choices about the foods we select and cook, and how we eat them, can keep our brains younger, sharper, more vibrant, and much less prone to dementia. 

Backed By Science:

She says a week of brain-healthy eating should look like this. A strong base of plant foods, one or more servings of fish and seafood, and a few servings of animal products. We can enjoy coffee, tea, berries, beans, legumes, olive oil, and even fermented foods, which I’ve recently come to enjoy more.  The ten brain-healthy kitchen food groups are:

  1. Berries
  2. Leafy Greens
  3. Other Vegetables
  4. Seafood
  5. Nuts and Seeds
  6. Beans and Lentils
  7. Whole Grains
  8. Meat, Poultry, Eggs,
  9. Olives and Olive Oil 
  10. Coffee, Tea, and other drinks

Dr. Annie understands it's easier for us to eat healthy at home, but we might run into trouble while traveling, or going out to eat. She’s got a solution called the 4 F’s for that as well and wants us to stay flexible and realistic as we change our eating habits for a healthier brain and life. 

One of my favorite recipes from this book is the Slow Roasted Salmon with Avocado Butter, which I’ve been given permission to share with you today.

Slow Roasted Salmon with Avocado Butter Recipe:

Slow Roasted Salmon with Avocado Butter Recipe
Courtesy: The Brain Health Kitchen Cookbook

Serves 4 to 6

Slow-roasting salmon is not only a brain-friendlier method than cooking over higher heat, it’s practically foolproof, turning out perfectly cooked salmon every time. Think tender, rosy-hued fish infused with flavor from the lemons and the fennel. It’s a streamlined dish that comes together quickly, too, thanks to pantry staples like canned chickpeas and frozen peas. And because the salmon roasts in the same sheet pan as the vegetables, cleanup is fast.

Once you put the salmon in the oven, mix up the avocado butter (a recipe handed down to me from my mother). It’s wonderful slathered on grilled corn or peak-season sliced tomatoes. It’s also fantastic served on other fish and seafood. Dollop it on grilled shrimp or cod filets, or fold it into tuna or sardine salad. Because avocado butter freezes well, it’s a good way to use up a bunch of ripe avocados that need to be eaten. Of course, if you don’t feel like getting out a food processor, you can use a fork to mash the avocado with the butter and the other ingredients, adding the chopped parsley last.


2 small fennel bulbs (8 ounces/230 g), thinly sliced, fronds reserved for garnish

Two 15-ounce (425 g) cans chickpeas, drained (about 3 cups)

1 large lemon, thinly sliced, seeds removed

½ cup (120 ml) water

¼ cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 teaspoon kosher salt

One 1½-pound (680 g) whole salmon filet, skin-on (preferably wild-caught), about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick
(see Tip)

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1½ cups (230 g) peas (fresh or frozen)

2 large, ripe avocados, mashed (about 1 cup)

3 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, preferably grass-fed, at room temperature

2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

1 medium garlic clove, minced (about ½ teaspoon)


Set an oven rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C).

Toss the fennel, chickpeas, lemon, water, 2 tablespoons of the oil, and ½ teaspoon of the salt on a rimmed baking sheet until evenly coated, then spread into an even layer. Top with the salmon, skin side down, and pour the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over top. Sprinkle the salmon with pepper and ¼ teaspoon of the salt.

Bake for 20 to 28 minutes, stirring in the peas after 10 minutes, until the salmon is just turning opaque. (If using an instant-read thermometer, take the temperature in the thickest part of the fish: 125°F/50°C for medium-rare; up to 140°F/60°C for well done.)

Meanwhile, combine the avocados, lemon juice, butter, parsley, garlic, and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process until completely smooth. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

To serve, divide the salmon and vegetables between plates and spoon a tablespoon of any pan sauce over top. Top each piece of fish with 2 tablespoons avocado butter, some of the reserved fennel fronds, and a drizzle of oil. Top with more pepper, if you like.

To store extra avocado butter, transfer to an airtight container with a piece of waxed paper or parchment paper pressed onto the surface of the butter to prevent browning. It will keep like this for up to 3 days in the refrigerator or 3 months in the freezer.

Tip: You can use filets of salmon, too. Four- to 6-ounce (115 to 170 g) portions work well. Start checking for doneness after 15 minutes, especially if you prefer your salmon rare. 

My Thoughts:

Doesn’t the salmon look delicious? I Can't wait to try this and a host of other recipes I’ve bookmarked so far. With 100 recipes to choose from, I shouldn't have a problem with meal planning!

While this book is wordy,( the preface and introduction are 18 pages!), and full of scientific facts, I found Dr Annie Fenn’s approach easy to understand. Talking about Alzheimer’s can be hard. Perhaps, like me, you’ve watched a family member suffer from dementia. Perhaps, you fear you may get it. Whatever the case may be, Dr. Annie seems to understand. Her tone is friendly and uplifting here in her book, and on her website, Brain Health Kitchen, which is full of helpful resources on this topic. 

The Takeaway:

Dr. Annie Fenn is an ally for women who get Alzheimer’s more often than men. She went on this journey of knowledge and healing for her Mom and now, we have her wisdom at our disposal and I for one am grateful. Not only is this a cookbook for brain health, I think it’s a healthy living guide as well.

I think now is the perfect time of year to do a pantry and fridge reset, before the holidays get here! 

If you’d like to learn more about this book and where to purchase it, just head over to the Hachette Book Group and be sure to visit other recent book reviews here on the blog under the tab Books.  There’s also a current book giveaway I’d love for you to enter. 

Please share in comments: Do you enjoy using cookbooks like this one?

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