It’s a cookbook I’ve had for a while now, and one I’ve been meaning to write about, mostly  because it’s fun. A serious “this is how you prepare 18 course meals topped by those budget breaking bottles of wine?” Of course not. Is it a book a guy with a grill, a stove top, a decent beer, and a few utensils can take a shot at? Absolutely.

A fun cookbook, not just for guys (though it pretends to be).

The core of it are single item offerings (usually) by name chefs. Tom Colicchio does the intro.  Atlanta favorites are contributors. Ria Pell offers Fish and Grits on page 46. Linton Hopkins  offers roast chicken on page 136. Hugh Acheson does Bread n Butter Pickles on page 177. And a recipe akin to one my mother learned from a pregnant coworker from New Orleans  lives on page 173, shrimp boiled in beer. My mom once nearly ended up  in a brawl with a general’s wife who insisted her shrimp must have been flown in from the coast.

I miss my mother, and her shrimp boiled in beer. May she rest in peace.

Nope. But beer can kill that fishy whang off your frozen shrimp.

It’s a good cookbook for diabetics because most of what is cooked here can be eaten safely by diabetics. Not to put too fine a point to it, but diabetics should be living on meats (or cheeses), raw veggies, cooked (preferably grilled) veggies, and carefully managed bites of starches. This cookbook is a great way to add variety to the proteins a diabetic eats.

Highly recommended. If you like the idea of also getting Esquire magazine, the year’s subscription inside the book almost  pays for the cost of the book.

John Boys is pretty much the opposite of hot, and proof that hotness, to a certain degree, is irrelevant. This restaurant has had no entry in Urbanspoon for years, and in fact I didn’t write about it once because I couldn’t find an entry for it in Urbanspoon. It’s only when you realize that the clientele of this place couldn’t give a flip about those kinds of tools is when you get it. This place is about serving people for whom trends are never “OMG, so last week!” The selling point is simple fare, sold at a great price.

The price point for John Boy’s buffet is $7.50, about 4 dollars less than Golden Corral. As a consequence, this place is well served by an older crowd.  They’re the kind of folk whose opinions won’t be given away in facial expressions.  You’ll have to look at their eyes, and the corners of  their lips to know how they think and feel. Or maybe, just count the numbers in the eatery. That will give you a clue.

A typical weekly John Boy's Menu.

This place  is very comfortable for someone like me  to eat. The plentiful supply of good vegetables and ample quantities of meats make this a good pit stop for a diabetic. And there are lots of families here as well, often large ones, with grown kids and mostly grown grandkids, and some patriarch at the head of his bountiful table.

Now, at the price, don’t expect fancy meats or television ads. The food, however, for what they serve, is competitive with any  buffet in the area. And for those who wonder what ever happened to the cafeterias of the 20th century, well, they either evolved into these modest (and critically underserved) buffets, or they perished from the face of the earth.

John Boy’s Home Cooking
3050 Main Street W.
Snellville, GA 30078
(770) 969-6988

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When I started this blog, I was making a ton of lentil and bean type soups by creating a mirepoix in a pan, sauteeing, and then, later, adding lentils, water, and simmering until done.  Bittman has done it again by generalizing the process. Especially interesting to me are his mushroom and tomato soup recipes, which seem little different in character from the older lentil soups I’d make. These new soups have the advantage that they are considerably more diabetic friendly.

This base (or similar) can begin plenty of soups.

I lost most of my weight using Cheerios as my mail morning cereal. I’ll note that I was lucky in this regard, as many diabetics can’t handle the sugars in the combination of cereal and milk. I’ve found three more cereals I can use in the mornings, two oldies and one that’s new to me.

The new one is Fiber One, which has 25g of carbs per serving, 14g of that dietary fiber (and therefore, depending on the rule used, can be subtracted from the total carbs of the day, or half the fiber can be subtracted). The second is a version of Special K called Protein Plus, which has only 2g of sugars. The third is any of the kinds of Shredded Wheat, which can be used if you will cut the serving size in half. Sugars in the Shredded Wheat category are exceptionally low, but the standard serving has well over 40 grams of carbs. Half the serving falls into a tolerable range, with milk.

OK Cafe is a diabetic friendly establishment. It has a lot of food whose serving size is reasonable. There are plenty of burgers and sandwiches. There are a good selection of vegetables and a good vegetable plate. It is a good place for a diabetic for many of the same reasons Jimmy of Eat It Atlanta dubbed it a mediocrity. You know what’s on the menu. It’s familiar stuff. Nothing exotic, nothing to creep into your food, such as a orange-honey marinade that could ruin your appetite or your blood sugars.

That said, it’s nothing like the host of diners in town that are thinly disguised Greek delis. The menu is original, the place full of eye candy. The red and white outside is eye catching. Combined with the yellow of the tables and white and blue uniforms of staff, it makes for a place painted out of primary colors, the palette stolen from Dick Tracy.

I came at about 3pm, for the third of the four meals I eat every day. I was looking for cooked vegetables and I was thinking maybe the salmon plate. But the price on the menu was about $2.00 higher than the price on the web site, and on the menu I spotted a salmon burger. Salmon burger. That sounded good, so I got the burger and a vegetable plate.

The burger was good looking. Great bread, though the salmon was a croquette, so had some carbs. I only ate about half my bun, to compensate a bit. The vegetables were mostly good. The collards were spot on. Green beans were cooked in the southern style. My one bite of corn bread was good. The cabbage was surprisingly tasty. Only the broccoli was a “fail”. Bland and tasteless, I’d have had more collards or cabbage had I known.

I have to get my family here some time. They’ll be delighted with the place.

Verdict: Original look, largely good food, diabetic friendly. Highly recommended.

Ok Cafe
1284 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta, GA 30327
(404) 233-2888

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