Simply in Season

IMG_1198I 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 Continue reading

Recipes for a Small Planet

This small, tattered book is the creation of Ellen Ewald, whose experience in cooking well-balanced, nutritious meals without meat was an inspiration to Francis Moore Lappé and a confirmation that her ideas were practical.  The resemblance of the title to Diet for a Small Planet, then, is not coincidental.  It was written to demonstrate the rich possibilities in a natural, high-protein, but meatless diet—possibilities that could only be intimated in Diet for a Small Planet.  You might say Diet for a Small Planet tells why we should reduce/eliminate meat intake while Recipes for a Small Planet shows how. As with Diet for a Small Planet, the recipes are meatless, but many use eggs and dairy products.

I have just learned that Recipes for a Small Planet is still available on Amazon.

Whole Foods for the Whole Family

I’m ecstatic!  My brand new copy of Whole Foods for the Whole Family has arrived.  When the cover picture was taken, I was still using the book originally published by La Leche League in 1981. That is the one on the far right in the cover picture with an elastic band around it. Continue reading

Diet for a Small Planet

Diet for a Small Planet is my other classic cookbook. It was first published in 1971 and I must have purchased it not much later, even before I was married. I got the paperback edition, which didn’t stand up to wear and tear too well. So, I replaced it with the 20th anniversary edition in 1991. Twenty years later this one is also held together with tape and a prayer.

Author Frances Moore Lappé has probably changed Continue reading

More-With-Less Cookbook

More-with-Less is the classic by Doris Janzen Longacre. The sub-title describes it as: Suggestions by Mennonites on how to eat better and consume less of the world’s limited resources.

It was first published in 1976 and went through 4-6 printings every year through 1980.  And though the pace has slowed down  to only 1-2 printings per year, it is still going strong.

I purchased a copy in 1977 and it has been one of my main standbys ever since.  Indeed, I used it so much that it virtually fell to pieces. The copy I have now is a replacement published in 1992.

Besides good Mennonite recipes, it includes an abundance of Continue reading

The Parkdale Potluck Cookbook

The Parkdale Potluck Cookbook

I picked this up shortly after moving into Parkdale, a lively neighbourhood on the west edge of Toronto’s downtown.  I found it the first time I visited the farmer’s market in Sorauren Park.

It is a slim volume, less than 70 pages, containing 49 recipes contributed by members of the Parkdale community.

It was published in 2008 as a fundraising project of the Parkdale Activity and Recreation Centre.

The recipe quest

I am a fairly adventurous eater.  I like trying new dishes, new ingredients, new styles of cooking.  Naturally, I have accumulated a number of cookbooks—and lost quite a few too.  Adelle Davis’  Let’s Eat Right to Keep Fit is gone and Mother’s in the Kitchen, my first La Leche League cookbook.  Also a little gem called Easy Gourmet Cooking in 30 minutes.

In fact, that was the book that set me on cooking adventures in the first place.  I was a young teacher, living for the first time on my own.  Not far into the semester, I realized that many evenings I was having nothing more than toast and coffee while grading papers.  Not a good way to keep up one’s energy.  But how to work cooking into a schedule that seemed overwhelming—especially good cooking.  So a book that promised dinner on the table in 30 minutes—and good food at that—was a godsend.  I even learned to like liver, one dish I had always rejected as a child.

The second thing that started me on this quest was a brush with cancer a few years ago.  For several months after having a colorectal tumour removed I had no appetite at all. I had to re-introduce myself to food like a baby, trying small portions of one thing at a time. Low energy levels meant I couldn’t produce complicated recipes either. Yogurt and fruit became a standard breakfast; simple one-vegetable soups prepared at home a typical lunch or supper. It was a real achievement to get something as substantial as an egg or a muffin down.

 Then one day I realized I was enjoying my food again and I pulled out the cookbooks. My first thought was to start at the beginning of each one and try one or two recipes a week.  Soon I realized that was impractical.  For one thing,one book starts off with a hundred or more recipes for a sauce, dip, sandwich spread or salad dressing.  I could end up with four or five in the fridge and nothing to use them on. Another begins with more than two dozen recipes for bread.  I love baking my own bread, but I can’t live on bread alone.  No, I would have to roam through the recipes in another way.

 By the time I had worked out what I was doing I had already tried a good many recipes.  Then I began wondering how many there were to try—altogether—from  all the books.  So I made myself a grand catalogue of all the recipes, noting which ones I had already tried and which were still to be sampled.

 Will I ever get to try them all?  Short answer: probably not. Not unless I am still preparing my own meals on my hundredth birthday.  Meanwhile, however, I thought it might be interesting to jot down some of my adventures with food.