Nourishing Traditions – Learning from our Children

Capturing Our Traditions
Capturing Our Traditions

By Patricia Zick @PCZick

Nothing pleases me more than when my daughter introduces me to something new. On my last visit to her home, she showed me how to use YouTube. We found some entertaining videos on subjects close to both our hearts: the preparation of food. It gave me an idea, so today I purchased a tripod so I can set my video camera on the kitchen counter while I prepare food. The idea came to me as I watched a woman demonstrate the making and canning of marinara sauce. The recipe was fine, but the methods for sterilizing and preserving the sauce were not. In fact, she gave instructions that were unsafe.

We watched another woman demonstrate how to make sauerkraut.

“That’s a recipe right out of Nourishing Traditions,” my daughter said. She pulled the book from a shelve and showed me the book. “This is actually one of my favorite cookbooks.”

The subtitle of the book is “The cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats.”

When I returned home, I ordered a copy immediately, and it arrived last week. Written by Sally Fallon with Mary G. Enig, Ph.D., the book explores almost all areas of eating with exhaustive information on all food types. However, it’s so much more than that.

The book offers more information in its more than 600 pages – in a 10” x 7.5” package – than Betty Crocker could ever imagine. Acids, fats, vitamins, sugars, gluten, and dairy products receive a thorough examination.

It’s nice to have a reference book for information even though I might not reform my eating habits instantly. But I’m willing to give a few new ideas a try. For instance, this winter I developed a severe craving for sweets. I’ve kept sweets out of my life for many years, except on rare occasions. I know sugar is addictive, and I have a thing for chocolate and ice cream. I also have a slow metabolism so those additional “empty” calories go straight to my hips. I haven’t drunk pop since my teenage years, but suddenly I’m craving Vernors® ginger ale. Then I began eating frozen yogurt with strawberries on top every night. When I found myself sneaking a container of Cherry Garcia ice cream into the freezer two weeks ago, I knew I’d fallen prey to my addiction. I decided to see what my new cookbook might offer me as an alternative.

The “Desserts” chapter begins with an explanation of the sugars found in our diets. It offers tips for abating the craving, such as brushing your teeth right after your regular meal. The book suggests the sweetness of the toothpaste will keep the craving away. For me there’s something else. I don’t like to eat anything else after I’ve brushed my teeth. It’s a good helpful suggestion that benefits my health, waistline, and teeth. And so far it’s working. The book also gives some suggestions for natural sweeteners, such as maple syrup and rapadura or dehydrated cane sugar juice, which I’ll need to find someplace other than my local grocery store. I made zucchini bread this weekend using maple syrup for the sweetener as directed by their recipe. I used the lesser amount (a quarter cup), but next time I’ll increase it to ½ a cup. The bread is good, but it needs a little more sweetness. Next, I’m going to try their recipe for ginger ale using rapadura and real ginger. We shall see how that experiment works out.

I also made hummus this weekend using the recipe in Nourishing Traditions. I followed it exactly, except for the one tablespoon of “expeller-expressed flax oil.” Instead, I used olive oil expressed out of its bottle by me.

The cookbook offers recipe quizzes, “Know Your Ingredients,” on many pages. A list of ingredients is given and then the reader is asked to identify the food. The answers are given in the back of the book. Most of the recipes are common foods. It’s shocking to know what we’re eating when we buy prepared food from the store.

There are also anecdotes about food from different books and experts on some of the pages. Each time I read it, I’m amazed at the amount of information provided in such a friendly way.

When I cook, I usually look at several recipes before I start. With the hummus, I pulled out two other cookbooks, in addition to Nourishing Traditions, but I favored their recipe for its simplicity. I have a feeling I’ll be pulling this book out first when it’s time to mess up the kitchen.

Look for me on YouTube now that I have a tripod and a new inspiring cookbook. I’ll be the woman with sauce in her hair, flour on her shirt, raisins on the floor, and cookbooks scattered on the counter, all the while peering into the camera wondering how the darn thing works. And it’s all thanks to the daughter who is teaching me her own traditions.

Bon appétit!

tsWebEnter the Goodreads Giveaway from now until March 31 for a copy of my novel Tortoise Stew. Note I wrote “novel.” The book is fiction about Florida politics and developers gone wild; it’s not a cookbook!

Published by P. C. Zick

I write. It's as simple and as complicated as that. Storytelling creates our cultural legacy.

12 thoughts on “Nourishing Traditions – Learning from our Children

  1. I shudder to think what my kitchen and I would look like on YouTube, but I also experiment in the kitchen a lot. I’ve made my own hummus (much better than store bought). Sunday (for St. Patrick’s Day) we had a huge Irish feast and with the left over mashed potatoes I made gnocchi yesterday, along with breaded meatballs and homemade sauce. I know a lot of people go out to eat a lot, or get takeout, or just make prepared food, but I grew up with home cooked meals. So did my husband. So that’s what we’re used to and that’s what we do here. I don’t have the courage you do to film it, but it’s the norm. I’ll look for you on YouTube. Maybe I’ll find a new recipe or two for my collection!


    1. We’ll see about that! We used to go out to eat a couple of times a week, but in the last three months we’ve pretty much stopped unless going out with others. We started realizing the food in restaurants was mostly tasteless. I can see a huge difference in our monthly budget, which is another benefit. It’s much more expensive to eat out and then it’s not as good! Gnocchi is something I haven’t tried but I’m sure it’s similar to making perioges (?) which I have made.


      1. I think pierogis (I’m not sure how to spell it either) are more like raviolis, except they’re filled with potatoes and cheese (or some people fill them with sauerkraut) instead or ricotta or meat and spinach. Gnocchi aren’t filled; they’re just dumplings. They take time, but they’re easy. You can make them with ricotta, but we like them better with potato. Take almost equal parts COLD mashed potatoes and flour (just a little less flour) and add egg to bind. Yesterday I used 12 cups potato, 11 cups flour, and 3 eggs, so you can scale accordingly. (Warm potatoes will absorb too much flour and eggs.) Mix the dough, roll into tubes, cut into 1 inch pieces, and dimple with a fork or a finger or thumb. Put them in a single layer on a floured sheet pan in your freezer. When they’re frozen, bag them until you’re ready to cook them. Boil and salt water. Cook like pasta, stirring frequently. Take them out with slotted spoon when they rise to the surface. They’ll only take a few minutes.


  2. Great post! I love “Nourishing Traditions”, though I must admit I don’t use it as often as other cookbooks. You’ve inspired me to try their humus recipe and others from there. These days I find I go online searching for recipes rather than use all the ones on my book shelf!


  3. Filming and cooking? You’re a brave woman! I admire your endeavor, though. Proactive education is a great way to tackle and own these types issues. And, honouring your daughter’s traditions…how can you go wrong?!


    1. I tried a trial last night as I made a standard recipe – I was testing for lighting in my kitchen and seeing if it worked. Each time it recorded fine for 1 minute then the screen went all hallucinogenic digital on me. Perhaps I needed you here to do my makeup!


  4. looking for that video, I want to know what recipe requires sauce in my hair, flour on my shirt and raisins on the floor, sounds delish.


  5. I hope you get your camera working. No matter how bad you may think you appear, you couldn’t possibly be as bad as some videos I’ve seen on Youtube! LOL! It seems the ladies do a better job than the men. Some of these videos are an exercise in what NOT to do! Have fun! It sounds like lots of fun to me!


    1. I have a feeling I need to buy a video camera and instead of using the video feature on my still camera. I hope to have some fun. I’ve got the perfect kitchen and counter to do the filming and what I saw looked good except I needed to smile more. Colors and lighting were good.


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