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Good-bye….and Hello!

It’s autumn. The winds of change are blowing.

I know you all woke up this morning and rushed straight to your computers so you could find out what our new cookbook tour would be. So I won’t make you wait any longer, here it is:

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Facebook survey. I think More with Less is going to be great for autumn cooking. And if you had your fingers crossed for one of the others, don’t despair. I wouldn’t be surprised if we revisit them in the future.

For now though, we are saying a fond farewell to Sally Fallon and our Nourishing Traditions cooking tour. I truly loved the time I spent taking a closer look at this cookbook. And there are certainly things I will carrying forward with me into my everyday cooking (soaking nuts/seeds/grains, making and using whey, frenching my beans…) I set out to answer some very specific questions by cooking through this book. Here are the answers I found:

1. Will they eat it??

Surprisingly, yes! Yes, they did. My kiddos didn’t always prefer whatever “it” was, but I can’t recall anything that they absolutely refused to even try. Some things they tried and then wouldn’t finish (hello, pemmican!) but overall I was really impressed with my family’s ability to try new things.

2. Is this a sustainable diet for a busy mama on a budget??

Yes and no. When you’re dealing with limited resources (time, energy and money all being included here) you have to prioritize. I could have chosen other recipes to try, that would have bankrupted my resources. But I was careful about what I chose. I spent money on the things that I needed to spend money on (better dairy, better meat) and we ate less of them. And I spent time on things that I thought were worth spending time on (making whey) where the investment of time would pay off in future cooking (I still have that original jar of whey in my fridge and it is still serving us well).

3. Does this diet help to overcome food intolerances and chronic digestive illness?

This is so hard to answer. Because I certainly didn’t do a scientific study here. I can say though, that with the limited diet I ate from Nourishing Traditions, I noticed little, if any, difference in my colitis. I do think there are a lot of sound theories in Nourishing Traditions on digestion and think those are valuable. But I think I had inappropriate expectations. It’s like expecting an aspirin to cure cancer. The problem is bigger than the power of the solution.

And finally, here are my family’s top three, make that four, Nourishing Traditions recipes (I couldn’t pick just three). These are ones we’ll be returning to again and again:

  1. Moroccan Chicken
  2. Ketchup
  3. Wild Rice Casserole (with the Pemmican!)
  4. Tomato Dill Soup

I’m not shelving Nourishing Traditions yet, so it’s not quite a good-bye for me. But you won’t be seeing my grand experiments here on the blog. I know. So sad. Let’s move on to happier things.

For autumn we’ll be touring More with Less. This is a collection of recipes gathered by Doris Janzen Longacre from Mennonites around the world. Don’t you love this picture of the author??

The subtitle on the cover is “Recipes and suggestions by Mennonites on how to eat better and consume less of the world’s limited food resources”. I know many people, maybe yourself included, are drawn by this subtitle. Me, not so much. I do have a large family, statistically speaking, and I have no guilt over that. I’ve been on the receiving end of lots of looks that tell me clearly people disapprove and lots of words that tell me why they disapprove of our choice to have a larger family. I don’t need guilt from a cookbook telling me that we consume too many resources.

But while this purpose didn’t resonate with me, this one did, “There is a way of wasting less, eating less, and spending less which gives not less but more.” Now there’s an intriguing thought! How does that work??

And also this: “…because this book is not about cutting back. This book is about living joyfully, richly and creatively.” Okay. I can buy into that.

So my motivation for cooking through this book isn’t out of a sense of guilt that my family’s “footprint” is too big or that we’re using more than our share. Actually my family does pretty well with the “less” part. It’s the “more” part that I’m interested in. How do we get the more joy and the more richness and the more creativity from the less? Friends, this will be my journey. Will you join me?

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