“More-With-Less”: My New Favorite Cookbook …

“More-With-Less” by Doris Jansen Longacre is my new favorite cookbook, at least until “The Boat Galley Cookbook” is published, Summer 2012!  After David’s heart diagnosis, we’ve been trying to eat healthier — our friends just shake their heads and say “but you two have always eaten healthier than anyone we know”.  But that’s just not good enough anymore, so we’re on a mission to minimize processed foods, oil and of course, cholesterol.   Until you start doing the research, you don’t realize that even the “healthy” foods we were eating aren’t necessarily healthy.  Very frustrating.  For example, why does literally EVERY brand of spaghetti sauce available in Walmart, Publix, the local IGA’s and Sweetwater contain oil?  Why do manufacturers feel the need to lace oil into every single can or bottle?  But we can buy large cans of plain old tomato sauce with no oil, add the spices ourselves and have less expensive, better for us, almost as easy as just opening a jar of spaghetti sauce.  Think this is just an isolated example?  Oh no, not even close!  The only way to REALLY eat healthy for us would be to only eat fresh vegetables, fruits and a minimum of meat and fish.  Unfortunately we’re not THAT dedicated!  🙂   In a quote from the intro in “More-With-Less”:

Popular writer and food guru Michael Pollan (author of In Defense of Food and Food Rules) , “Instead of food, we’re consuming ‘edible foodlike substances’ – no longer the products of nature but of food science.  Many of them come packaged with health claims that should be our first clue they are anything but healthy.  In the so-called Western diet, food has been replaced by nutrients, and common sense by confusion.

More-With-Less Earns a Spot Aboard

More-With-Less Earns a Spot Aboard

There are ga-zillions of “heart-healthy” cookbooks, but during some research on Amazon, I stumbled across this little orange gem called “More-With-Less Recipes and Suggestions by Mennonites on how to eat better and consume less of the world’s limited food resources”.  We’re not Mennonite’s but the back of the book intrigued me into more research, it said:

3 ways to eat more-with-less:  Eat more whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.  These foods are packed with flavor and nutrition.  They’re kind to yoiur wallet, your waistline, and the larger world.  Use meat and dairy products in moderation.  Experiment with meals that don’t focus on meat.  A little meat or cheese can flavor a dish based on lower-cost ingredients.  Avoid processed and convenience foods.  Highly processed food often means chemical additives, higher prices, and wasteful packaging.  Instead, celebrate the joy of simple meals made with wholesome ingredients.

The first night I owned the book, I tried a couple of the recipes – a collection from Mennonite cooks around the country.  They were simple, straighforward and I already had the ingredients onboard – what a concept!  There’s a chapter addressing world food shortages which I read but wasn’t overly enthusiastic about, but I also like the practical advice offered in how to change eating habits to healthier nutrition.  Here’s just one more quote from the book to give you an idea:

Cutting back sounds like a dismal prospect.  “Let’s splurge, just this once” appeals more to American and Canadian ears.  Put dismal thoughts aside then because this book is not about cutting back.  This book is about living joyfully, richly and creatively.

With over 800,000 copies in 47 printings worldwide since first published in 1976, a 25th Anniversary Edition and now in 2011 an Updated Edition, this cookbook obviously appeals to more than just me.  I don’t collect cookbooks, heaven knows there’s not room for many aboard since we have yet to convert to Kindle (yes, the book is available in a Kindle edition and other electronic versions), this slim edition for a bit over $12 has already earned a spot aboard.

Do you have favorite cookbooks?  Leave a comment and be sure to tell us why you like it!   THX!  Jan


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