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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?

  Leave a Reply

  • I LOVE this book! I have read it cover-to-cover many times. I find that we have a tendency to get caught up in “life” and we lose our focus on making the most of things (food and time together). This book seems to help ground me. Maybe it’s my history with the book itself… I was given a copy by a missionary family who I met through an amish family 25+ years ago. This is my go-to book when I need ideas (think CSA box)! I am really looking forward to hearing others thoughts on this one!

    Amyk November 10, 2011 AT 9:47 pm
  • I have tried and liked many things from this–originally from the recipes reprinted in my “in country” Peace Corps Cookbook. I will be along on the tour!

    Lisa October 27, 2011 AT 3:37 pm
  • I also have this cookbook and have used it some. I would really like to hear
    what recipes others have loved too so I hope there will be a lot of sharing.

    alicia October 20, 2011 AT 8:54 pm
  • I was trying to think of a way to approach saying something… Only to find that Sandra already covered it! Thanks! :)

    I am currently reading her “Living More With Less” (not a cookbook), and in introducing the idea she says something to the effect of making mindful decisions being different for each of us: for one family it might be moving from the 3 bedroom house to a rural cabin; for a wealthy family with city jobs it might mean building a 5 bedroom house instead of a 10 bedroom mansion.

    I’ve been trying to pick up a used copy of the cookbook on Paperbackswap, but to no avail. I guess it’s time to make a mindful choice to order one and pay for it! ;)

    Tiffany (As For My House) October 20, 2011 AT 11:30 am
    • Tiffany, Ooh! I’m very intrigued by the book. I’ve requested it from our library. Thanks for sharing! I didn’t even know it was out there! I look forward to reading it and getting a better understanding of what the philosophies are. Thanks! Erin

      Erin October 23, 2011 AT 7:03 pm
  • I love this cookbook! I haven’t cooked out of it in a while – so excited to dig it back out!!!

    Leigh October 20, 2011 AT 5:40 am
  • Yea! I just ordered this book last week. Saw it mentioned in World magazine. Can’t wait to get it.

    Jackie October 19, 2011 AT 6:03 pm
  • I applaud your choice of cookbooks. I bought this book back in the early 80’s and still use it. I have the two companion books as well. I love the granola recipes. So does my family.

    I must say though that your introduction really didn’t do the book right. I don’t think the book’s contributors would give you the stink eye for having a large family. Mennonites frequently have large families themselves. The overall teachings, if I can so irreverently condense them, is to make deliberate decisions about our consumption – of things and food. Food, as it is presented in the book, is about coming together to break bread in a communal spirit while also acknowledging that we are stewards of the Earth’s resources. The recipes are timeless, nourishing and thrifty.

    By the way, I have 7 children and 2 step children. I love having a big family. Ours was formed by birth and adoption and we consume a lot of food and resources, but we try and do so wisely.

    Sandra October 19, 2011 AT 8:06 am
    • Sandra, I’m so blessed by your comment. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and clarify that point. It’s a minor distinction, but an important one. I think because I’m located in a place where people are very (very) eco-conscious and because I often find that they heap blame and shame on families like mine, that I’m a tad sensitive to those issues. I have many friends with large families, most larger than mine, and they too have felt the sting of that finger-pointing. It’s challenging, but necessary, to move beyond a place of defensiveness and into one of graciousness. Thanks for your comment! I so appreciate it.

      Erin October 19, 2011 AT 12:01 pm

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