From My Library: Nourishing Traditions (Sally Fallon, 2001)

Dear Readers,

One of the cookbooks that's had an enormous impact on my day-to-day cooking is Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.  I reviewed this cookbook briefly in my Best Books of 2015 post, and have been cooking through many of Ms. Fallon's recipes since then.  Recently, I also discovered that she has a blog and newsletter, where she continues to update her research.  As the founder and president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, the now-Mrs. Sally Fallon Morrell is carrying on the nutrition research and education model championed by the 20th-century dentist Weston Price, who travelled around the globe in the early 1900s investigating the link between diet and tooth decay.  He did some fascinating work in the field of holistic dentistry, publishing Nutrition and Physical Degeneration in 1939.  

Now, I am not a dentist.  I am also not a doctor, or a nutritionist, or a healthcare professional of any kind, and making dietary recommendations for my readers is something that scares the heck out of me.  So I won't do that by telling you to go out and buy this cookbook.  

What I do know is that the recipes in this book have been a helpful push in the right direction for me.  There's an emphasis on some things I'd never even eaten before, such as homemade broth and chicken feet, which Mrs. Morrell presents in approachable, simple recipes.  She has a lot to say about eating healthy animal fats, impressive since this book was originally published in 1999, when America was faithfully cooking with margarine and Crisco (since butter was "unhealthy").  Mrs. Morrell also gives us recipes for making fermented foods at home, such as sauerkraut (which I still haven't mastered, sadly), relish, and chutney.  She has a lot of great soup recipes, an enormous number of recipes for preparing vegetables so your family will eat them, and lots of low-sugar desserts and snacks.   On the topic of sugar, Mrs. Morrell has this to say:  

With sugar so cheap and plentiful, we have lost sight of the fact that desserts are something you ‘deserve’ and should not be eaten on a daily basis. Even naturally sweetened desserts should be eaten only occasionally. We recommend you limit your dessert-making to holidays and special occasions and perhaps one or two evening meals per week.

I had to draw the line at a few things she suggests:  her raw meat appetizers (I like my food cooked), and her raw milk advocacy (despite all its proponents, it just isn't my thing--although I have to admit, I did get to try raw cream from a Mennonite dairy as a kid, and it tastes incredible). Her recommendations for eating organ meats haven't quite resonated with me, either.  You should make your own call, as usual.  My #1 diet rule is: do what's right for you and your body, and talk with your doctor before making any changes to your diet/adding new supplements or DIY treatments to your daily regimen. Also, it's very wise to take everything you read, about diet and otherwise, with a grain of salt.

I hope this cookbook brings you as much enjoyment, wisdom, and practical encouragement in healthy eating as it has brought me!

Yours Truly,