My sister gave me a copy of the More-With-Less Cookbook for my birthday. Although it is primarily a cookbook, the first chapter is dedicated to introducing and explaining the way of eating that the book promotes – “Recipes and suggestions by Mennonites on how to eat better and consume less of the world’s limited food resources.” I found it to be such an interesting read that I highly recommend everyone read it, especially if you are interested in simplifying your meals at home.
One of the things that I most appreciate about the book’s philosophy of “More with Less” is that it is presented from a Christian standpoint and worldview. “As North Americans, most of us grew up believing we were born into an era of abundance. The ability to buy something has meant the right to have it. Christian discipleship now calls us to turn around.” (pg.13) It talks about the calling we have as Christians to care for those who have less, to give to others as freely as we have received, and it gives sound and practical advice for how changing our eating habits can help us to fulfill this calling, including how to shorten our shopping lists, buy and store food in bulk, and buy nonprocessed foods.
The author encourages us that the path to eating more with less is a journey, one that you can’t just make overnight. In fact she writes that if you try to make major changes too quickly that you may change back just as quickly, like the changing of a fad or trend. She shares that this is about a lifestyle change, and not simply a quick fix. You know that I am all about the journey and making small changes.
This first chapter includes reasons for making a change, how to build a simpler diet, with practical nutritional information like complimentary proteins, and even ideas for serving guests with a simpler menu. The remainder of the book is filled with lots of basic recipes, and some for making things from scratch that you might have otherwise bought at the store like flour tortillas, granola, and wheat thins. I am very excited to try some of these from scratch recipes as I try to move away from using processed food.
This book was first published in 1976 amidst a global food shortage. What is so amazing to me about this book, is that it sounds like the author could be writing these words today. She shares insights into the North American style of eating that are as true today as they were in the 70’s. On the other hand, it is sad to me that over 30 years later, it still does not seem that most of us have learned the lessons and lifestyle advocated in this book, and that food shortages and chronic hunger remain a daily reality to so many people around of the world. Consider this quote, “We are overspending money. We are overeating calories, protein, fats, sugar, superprocessed foods. We are overcomplicating our lives.” (pg. 13) Doesn’t that sound like she could be writing about us today?
More with Less is such a good reminder of the quote from Gandhi, “Live simply so others may simply live.” It is so important for us to realize and recognize the impact that our decisions today have on others. It is about taking small steps to make changes that will impact the world, all for the glory of God.