I am just beginning to explore this cookbook. It is published by Herald Press, provider of many Mennonite resources, and follows much the same philosophy as its predecessors, More-with-Less Cookbook and Extending the Table. I don’t have the latter book myself but I did once buy a copy as a wedding present for my niece and her husband.
As one would expect from the title, Simply in Season is built around produce that is typical for the seasons, at least in the temperate zones of North America.
Another major theme is using local sources. Mary Beth Lind, one of the authors provides this story of her decision to become a locavore:
“Currently, I find myself buying milk. We no longer have a cow and our neighbour no longer sells milk, so I go to the store to buy milk. Until recently, I would diligently check the sales papers from the major supermarkets to see where it was the cheapest. Since I live in a very rural area, these major supermarkets are at least 25 miles away. Of course I never made a special trip just to get milk. I would just stock up when I went throught these towns for work.
“However, one mile from home, a small grocery store sells milk. Unfortunately, it is usually more expensive than at the major supermarkets. So I would drive past this store to buy my milk at a major chain grocery store. I would patronize the local store in “emergencies” but not regularly. That is, until I realized that if everyone in the community did that, we would soon lose our local store and then I would have to go 25 miles for any grocery, emergency or not. Now in one small way I try to seek the good of where I find myself. I buy my milk from the small, local store.”
Mary Beth Lind’s co-author is Cathleen Hockman-Wert. She, too, has had a conversion to supporting local providers.
“But my journey with local food entered a new level in the 1990’s as my husband Dave and I began learning more about environmental issues. . . . We gradually became more and more committed to seeking out local, sustainably grown foods. Sometimes this has meant paying more: making that adjustment, for two people ingrained with the frugality ethic, hasn’t always been easy. Sometimes we chant a little mantra: ‘Cheaper is not always better.’ But by now, buying local foods is all joy.”
I am impressed by the quality of the recipes in this book. And I am impressed by the way food and faith are blended in a richly spiritual way. “Food is a part of my spirituality,” Mary Beth says. “For me there is a connection between what I eat and how I pray.”