The Cookbook That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats
I've owned Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon for several years. It's a fascinating book – much more than “just” a cookbook. Yet a cookbook it is, and an almost encyclopedic one. It's an asset in any kitchen and in any kitchen focused on nourishing children (even those yet to be born!)
Fallon opens the book with pages of information on general nutrition. She covers the importance of vitamins, minerals, fats, and more. She also gives a nice section of cooking tips and a section reviewing kitchen equipment.
Each section of the cookbook also has several pages of information pertaining to the recipes within. Perhaps the most fascinating part of the book, however, borders each recipe page. Fallon has included sidebars bordering the outside edge of each recipe page and these sidebars are filled with informative quotes. There are quotes from studies, books, even some novels (Willa Cather and Laura Ingalls Wilder both have quotes from stories they've written!)
If you're new to cooking nourishing foods for your family Nourishing Traditions is a great cookbook to start with. I've worked with it progressively over the years and my own copy is quite worn. My family calls it the “big yellow cookbook” and I joke that no matter what I want to make, a recipe is there. It contains a wide array of recipes from many cultures and that's why I love it.
I also love Nourishing Traditions because it really does start with the basics but has sections and recipes that will impress any company you can invite to supper – even if you're hosting a dinner party.
“Mastering the Basics” will get you started with fundamental recipes that will help you prepare delicious and healthy meals. You'll learn to make real stocks – fish, chicken, and beef/lamb – that form amazing bases for soups and sauces. The best thing I learned from this cookbook was how to make rich stocks. But in addition to the essential stock you'll learn basics like cultured dairy products, fermented vegetables, sprouting, basic dressings and sauces.
Nourishing Traditions then goes into beginning course sections (salads, dips, hors d'oeuvres, and other appetizers), main courses (from fish, poultry, organ meats, game, beef/lamb, and ground meats), vegetable dishes, luncheon dishes (including a selection of tasty Mexican and egg recipes), grain and legume recipes, snack recipes, desserts, beverages, and tonics. All sections have tons of recipes and they're easy to follow and learn from.
There's also a section on feeding babies. It contains a good recipe for a nourishing homemade formula based on real raw milk. This section however, is an exception to my good review of the book – Fallon gives the distinct impression that she just brushes breastfeeding off. Breastfeeding is the best way to nourish babies. I recommend focusing on eating lots of nourishing traditional foods yourself to increase your milk supply and quality before “throwing in the towel” so to speak. Fallon also has a recipe for cereal gruel for baby – make sure you read it carefully as she recommends (and I agree) not giving it to a baby under age 1.
Nourishing Tradition's appendices are also helpful with more information about fats, about the Weston A. Price Foundation, and some tips if you've got limited time and limited budget issues to work with.
I use this cookbook several times a week. I especially love the salad, salad dressing, and vegetable recipes to help me liven up our daily veggies. The ground and shredded meat recipes are also good for working with less expensive meat cuts. And I love all the soups since we eat soups almost daily.
Nourishing Traditions is a great place to start in working on improving your diet and your family's diet. It gives you not only the recipes – it gives you to “why” as to why you should be eating good foods. The recipe selection is so extensive that you'll be able to find good recipes for pregnancy – and for your little one as he or she grows.