Does anyone else find the recipes in this book contradictory to the book's stated premise?
For that matter, how does "More-With-Less Cookbook" broach the topic of organic foods? Organic food production is healthier from a dietary perspective. True, a greater percentage of land is required to produce equivalent factory farm yields (meat or vegetable). True, organic crops fail to pests and disease more frequently when chemicals are not used -- and loss is a form of waste, which in turn means that fewer people are fed per acre and at greater consumer cost (potentially diminishing America's food production capacity and reputation for "feeding the world"). Nevertheless, organic and free-range food production enjoys a more wholesome image. Factory farming, on the other hand, inhumanely overcrowds animals, relies on copious amounts of toxic chemicals on crops, and exposes factory farm animals to antibiotics -- a leading cause of drug-resistant bacterial infections in animals and humans alike -- growth hormones and unhealthful feed (cheap protein consisting of waste byproducts from other animals, including other cattle -- hence the proliferation of "mad cow" in the UK, Canada and to a lesser extent, US).
My point being, there are pros & cons on both sides of the coin. As for the part in this book about letting long horn cattle graze pastures "unfit for agriculture", that solution, too, is somewhat of a misnomer. In the US the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has leased out so much "protected" public lands that over 30,000 wild horses in Nevada alone are at immediate threat of being slaughtered. These majestic creatures have been repeatedly rounded up and caged to prevent overpopulation, but the only thing overpopulating our public lands are cattle. Ranchers are gaining the upper hand despite protection laws enacted decades ago to preserve America's wild horses (please Google this important and poorly covered issue in the American media). In short, I don't get the impression from reading the first few pages of the book via the "Look Inside" option that it approaches complex and conflicting issues evenhandedly. If only it WERE as straightforward as the authors seemingly imply.
I have yet to order the book, and perhaps the positive reviews should speak for themselves. However, the book starts off with a heavy dose of reality (guilt), and then appears to offer up an index filled with your typical rich food diet. Unless they are sweetening all those desserts with Stevia or artificial sugar and using whole grain instead of white flour, it perpetuates the obesity problem, does it not? Because of America's sweet tooth, species are endangered in other parts of the world where jungles are being clear-cut not only to graze cattle for our fast food chains but to grow sugar cane. (Hawaii is no longer a major producer of such products.) Meanwhile, top seafood chef Rick Moonen, coauthor of "Fish Without A Doubt", states that at the rate we are consuming fish all commercial fish will be depleted within 40 years (http://www.chow.com/stories/11173). Truth be told, eating meat -- not just the red variety -- no matter how we go about acquiring it, is destroying our planet. And this depletion and extinction trend seems sure to continue as long as there are 7 billion of us and growing. Finally, I see no evidence that calorie counts & nutritional breakdown are offered with the recipes in the "More-With-Less Cookbook". Were the book to include this information, that would tell it all.
Any diet cookbook will address the problems described in the forward because diet recipes revolve around lower calories (less meat, sugar and fat, and more whole foods). Of particular value, any cookbook that emphasizes steering clear of "white foods" (flour, sugar, processed foods) would accomplish the same task more effectively. Similarly, Cooking Light, Weight Watchers and just about any vegan cookbook that emphasizes grains & legumes would be helpful to the aim of cutting caloric excess. At least that's my first impression.
I gather the strong point of this work is in teaching home cooks how to substitute or create common store-bought ingredients from scratch, thereby sparing a trip to the store for all those "processed foods" foodies abhor. That's helpful to spending less money chasing down rarified or costly ingredients -- which is a common problem with gourmet type cookbooks -- but I question if the convenience represented by this how-to information translates into a significant environmental or social justice benefit. (As I said, even organic and free-range foods come at another set of environmental costs. There is no "free lunch".)
Don't get me wrong: It would appear there are a lot of fabulous recipes in this book that I'd love to get my hands on if presented in any other context (or a more complete one at that). I'm just not sold on the idea that it solves any of the problems it talks about.
The "More-With-Less" cookbook was published in 1976 and the author is dead. I can't understand why you expect this book, which you haven't read, to have a "significant environmental or social justice benefit".
It's just a cookbook. A very good one. You're blaming this book for everything from obesity to the slaughter of wild horses. And YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK.
All the more reason for discussion, don't you think?
Look how far our understanding of the issues has come!
This book tackles some weighty issues. Consequently, the discussion I generated is not a lightweight one, either. This may offend certain people, but typically socially conscious readers/shoppers -- the type of people who would be drawn to this type of cookbook to begin with -- have a grasp of tough issues and their social/environmental ramifications anyhow. I would not expect the type of reader this weighty of a cookbook would draw to be of the "kill the messenger" mindset. (In other words, I assumed if you're here, you can handle a discussion at this level because you're more concerned/aware than most anyhow.)
I appreciate now that the date on this copy is 1981. Honestly, it's surprising to see that it is still in print. Old stock doesn't usually last 29 years. If nothing else, a book that's still sold over 30 years after it was first published deserves an update. (And yes, the publisher can have, at a minimum, the Forward reworked -- they own the rights, after all.)
As for the scolding for having dared *talk* about a book I don't yet own: I'm SHOPPING. I can't pick this book up off a shelf. Here we have DISCUSSIONS instead of hands-on opportunities to review our purchases in person.
Amazon -- or actually the publisher -- provides a "Look Inside" option and this is exactly where I pulled the information from: not out of thin air.
As is anyone else's right, it is perfectly reasonable to discuss what the book has to offer, both pro and con. As is also anyone's right, it is also perfectly acceptable to pass up a discussion you have nothing to contribute but anger.
In all fairness, does it say anywhere in the Amazon rules that you are only allowed to discuss books you ALREADY own?
Kindly consider saving your frustration for the people who actually are violating the rules by REVIEWING & RATING BOOKS they don't buy. Note that I am NOT taking up space in the book review segment. I'm not bringing down the rating, either. I am exactly where I should be for pre-sale questions/concerns: in the DISCUSSION forum for this unique title.
For as many interactive features as this site offers, Amazon isn't a social networking site for the "Books I've Already Read" club. It is a commercial site and some of us have BUYING DECISIONS to make.
In the context of failing to realize how old the copyright was, I was truly taken aback and perplexed by the considerable amount of material I was able to read in the Forward that wasn't making sense in the modern context. So slay me for being human. Good Mennonite that you apparently, AREN'T, I suppose you've never a mistake? Hey, at least I admit mine!
No, I don't find the messages in this book contradictory. The dessert chapter is prefaced by a discussion of making things less sweet, going without, or eating plain yogurt for dessert. Also, throughout the cookbook are tips for getting food from local sources that people may not think of: growing parsley under a drippy hose, getting middlings from a miller, soybeans, laying hens butchered with eggs inside, etc. etc. The cookbook predates the current locavore phenonmenon (which I entirely support) but reminds me that the "new" green ideas about eating are not new. Frugal people have always bought local, grown organic, and been modest eaters. Based on the tone of your email, you probably would not like this cookbook. But it's a wonderful cookbook. I am a gourmet cook, but I use this cookbook right alongside Alice Waters and Julie Sahni. Three cheers for the Mennonites!
What are you talking about? This cookbook is jam-packed with "significant environmental or social justice benefit"!
It consists of page after page of recipes which are low-meat, high vegetable, high bean, high rice content! Sure, it's NOT a "vegan" cookbook, that is true, but frankly, I'm not alone in thinking that many (perhaps even most) "vegan" recipes are for the birds. And yes, I have eaten my fair share of "vegan" dishes, because I am an Orthodox Christian and we Orthodox fast, a lot, with no meat, eggs, or dairy for several months throughout every year, so I'm quite familiar with "vegan"! But even though it's not "vegan", it is (generally) low-meat, high fiber. It makes good use of cheese in order to end up with flavorful dishes, that is also true, so during the various fast periods I can't use some of the recipes in this cookbook.
So is this cookbook contradictory? No, not at all.
BTW, I've owned (and used, over and over again) this cookbook for over 20 years now. I'm working on my second copy, because the first one had become so thumb-eared from repeated use. In fact, it's my favorite cookbook (and I own tons of cookbooks) with "Joy of Cooking" running in second place.
If you aren't sure about buying this book, then maybe you can find it in a library? Amazon sometimes lets you have access to some of the pages.. I don't think it's enough to get the full concept of a book. I've purchased books based on those sample pages.. and sometimes ended up with something unlike what I originally thought it was going to be.. based on my preconceived notions. If you feel strongly about a book like this then maybe it's not the book for you..? or you can look at the book as a cookbook.. and substitute healthier options to replace what you think is unhealthy.. and disregard the author's written word about the environment and food in general if you feel that the recipes could be promising. In the end, it's up to you since it's your money. Spend it however you see fit. No diet is perfect.. so people can pick and choose whatever information that they can incorporate into their everyday lives.
This has been one of my favorite cookbooks and was never in my mind contradictory in the least bit. In fact, it made me feel accountable while all the other cookbooks were crammed full of the traditional sugary and high protein rich foods we Americans have grown used to. This one made me think about other cultures and how they lived. I used to plan "meager meal" nights when my kids were little as a result of reading this. We ate a lot of lentils and black eyed peas. We didn't have to have meat every single night. One of our favorite, absolute favorites, was the recipe for the Honey Lentils with sausage. We also loved Baked Lentils with Cheese. They were an economical to feed growing, hungry kids and also remind them they didn't have to live "high on the hog." Plus in this book there was so many other tips on ways to live frugally and I didn't take advantage of all of them, wished I had.